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Your DIY AC Troubleshooting Guide

It’s getting hot here in St. Louis, which means one thing—it’s time to crank your AC, grab a good book, and ride out the rest of shelter-in-place orders. And, as shelter-in-place sanctions extend, we here at Martin-Jetco Heating and Air Conditioning thought it wise to share some insider tips on how to locate the source of an air conditioning system malfunction. That way, if you do encounter a hiccup in cooling, you know how to identify the problem and possibly perform some DIY repairs that will get your system back up and running!

AC Troubleshooting Guide

Step #1: Start with a General Operational Check

Start at your thermostat. As it is the command center for your air conditioning network, your thermostat may be the source of your lapse in adequate cooling. First, you’ll want to set your desired temperature, and switch your thermostat fan to “on”. Once this is complete, head outside to your condenser and check to see if it is functioning properly.

If you do not hear any banging, popping, or clanking emanating from your unit, and hot air is coming out of the top of your condenser—your appliance is operating as intended! If this is not the case, check to see if your condenser is free of debris and leaves, as a dirty unit can lead to decreased cooling efficiency. If your unit is clean but is still making odd noises, or if your unit is not releasing warm air, contact a professional technician for AC repairs—your system may have some loose parts.

Now, if your condenser check brought no significant defaults to your attention, this is not the source of your malfunction. Head indoors to check your delivery system next. After about fifteen minutes of running your cooling cycle, you should begin to feel a drop in temperature throughout your space. If you notice weak airflow or experience insufficient cooling, it’s time to dig deeper to ascertain the source of your cooling debacle.

Step #2: Check Your Thermostat

Technological systems require power. So, before you start adjusting settings and pushing buttons, make sure your thermostat batteries or alternative power supply is not dead. If your system runs on batteries, these require replacement every season. A failed power supply will result in a failed air conditioning system. If your power supply is active, it’s time to troubleshoot your pre-programmed cooling schedules.

Pre-existing programming may be overriding your current cooling cycle, making it appear as though your air conditioning network is malfunctioning. Re-program your automated system, and your cooling should begin!

If this does not solve your cooling problem, it’s time to move on to phase two.

Step #3: See if Your Ductwork or Ventilation Could Be the Problem

Once you have determined that your thermostat is not the cause of your inefficient cooling, it’s time to check for air leaks in your ducting. Air leaks are the leading source of weak airflow in residential homes, as cracks in your system will interfere with the pressure within your ducts, affecting the delivery of cooled air throughout your home.

Check your house for any closed, blocked, or obstructed air vents, as this increases the likelihood that your cooling issues stem from cracks in your ductwork. If you notice any closed vents, contact a professional HVAC technician—your ducts may need sealing.

Additionally, dirty ducts can impede your cooling efforts. If you have not had air conditioning maintenance this year, or you have not regularly changed your air filters, your ducts can have accumulated dirt, dust, and pollen clogging your air’s pathway. If this is the case, you will need to schedule air conditioning maintenance ASAP!

Step #4: Check for a Leak in Your Refrigerant Line

If you have not encountered any of the above issues, but are still not getting cold air out of your system, it’s time to check your refrigerant line. Leaks, tears, and breaches in insulation can lead to a loss in cooling power. You will be able to hear if your system has a leak, as a hissing or jingling sound will emanate from your unit.

Contact an air conditioning specialist to patch your leak and restore the proper refrigerant levels in your system. This should resolve your cooling woes and have you well-prepared for a nice summer at home.

For your air conditioning repairs, replacements, and questions, contact Martin-Jetco Heating and Air Conditioning at (636) 205-1631. We take pride in home comfort and are here for your cooling emergencies. We are open for business and ready to serve you! We have implemented the CDC recommended protocols to ensure the health and safety of our customers and our crew. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any further questions!