Home Air Conditioner Maintenance – A Few Tips to Protect Your Unit
Before reaching for the phone and calling a home air conditioner maintenance professional, there are some troubleshooting steps that you can take to try and solve the problem.
When it comes to servicing your home air conditioner, maintenance does not necessarily need to be done by a professional every time.
When a central air conditioning unit isn’t working, try checking the circuit breakers. Sometimes a tripped circuit breaker can go unnoticed when the air conditioner has been idle for a long time, such as during the winter time. This is particularly true when the air conditioning system is on its own circuit, as most larger sized central air conditioning systems should be. Even if the unit’s breaker appears to be switched on, try turning it off and then back on again. Sometimes when breakers trip they don’t always flip all the way to the off position.
Most central air conditioning units are installed on circuits with double pole breakers. Sometimes when one of these breakers trips, one of the legs may hold the other one back and prevent if from flipping over to the OFF position. This might make the breaker appear to be on when it actually isn’t.
Check the setting of the thermostat to ensure that it is set on a temperature that is low enough to make the air conditioning system turn on. This is a common mistake that people make when firing up the air conditioning system after a long cold winter. Having the thermostat set too high will stop the air conditioner from coming on.
Home air conditioner maintenance professionals often respond to repair calls at the beginning of the summer, only to find that the unit is working fine but the customer had forgotten to turn the thermostat down. Double-check the thermostat setting and then try resetting it by shutting it off all the way, then setting it to ‘cold’.
Another important part of home air conditioner maintenance is routine spring cleaning of outdoor units. Leaves and other debris can accumulate around the unit, interfering with its operation. Be sure to turn off the power to the unit before you begin. Remove any leaves or other debris from around the condenser and pull or cut away tall grass and weeds. Keep the area around the unit clean and clear at all times. Remove the grill that protects the condenser’s fins and carefully clean the fins with a soft brush. Be gentle so as not to damage the fins.
If the system won’t turn on, try shutting it down completely. Wait for a minimum of 5 minutes before trying to restart it again. Do not turn it on and off quickly, because doing this causes additional strain on the unit’s compressor and may cause it to burn out.
Your air conditioning system may also be low on refrigerant. Touch both coolant lines to see if one of them is cold. If both lines are warm, then the system’s refrigerant may need to be recharged. In this case, you will need the services of a qualified air conditioning service professional.
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