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How Do You Troubleshoot an Air Conditioning Unit?

Like other systems in your home, your air conditioner can break down unexpectedly in the middle of summer. When you detect a fault, it is always wise to take immediate action to avoid recurring problems. Here are the top tips for troubleshooting your AC.

1. Troubleshooting Airflow Issues

One of the most prevalent issues with AC systems is airflow restrictions. You can troubleshoot and fix some of these airflow problems. We recommend changing or cleaning the filter once a month. Your ductwork requires regular maintenance to keep your AC system efficient. Holes and tears in the air ducts can allow unconditioned air to get into your home. One of the common symptoms of defective ductwork is uneven temperatures across the building. According to a NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaning Association) report, cleaning and sealing your ductwork improves energy efficiency. The process reduces the amount of time your equipment will run to attain comfortable temperatures.

2. Troubleshooting a Frozen Evaporator Coil

A frozen evaporator coil will prevent your AC from functioning correctly and generating the cool air you want from it. The ice will prevent the coolant from absorbing the latent heat in the surrounding air. If there are moderate amounts of frost, you can set your AC to run on “fan only.” That way, the warmer air from the blower will thaw the ice. Otherwise, if you switch your system off, it could take up to 24 hours for the frost to melt away. If the evaporator coil is frozen, you may want to check for airflow problems. Physical damage to the tubing can reduce its efficiency, creating room for frost to form. Another issue is dust and debris on the evaporator coils. You can damage the aluminum fins when cleaning the tubes. This task is often performed during an annual maintenance service. A Dynamic Air Services technician in Anaheim will refill the refrigerant during the tune-up if the levels are running low.

3. Your AC Won’t Turn On

Your AC can fail to turn on due to many different factors. First, you should rule out your electrical system by checking the breaker panel. If the switch is off, flip it back to “on.” The next step is to check that the external safety switch is set to “on.” It is usually around the unit’s connection to the power outlet. If the issue is not electrical power, inspect the condensate drain for excessive accumulation of water. Modern systems have an in-built mechanism that will shut down the system when water fills the condensate tray. Unclogging the condensate line may resolve the issue. If the AC still does not turn on, it could also be an issue with the motor’s capacitor. A malfunctioning capacitor is prevalent in systems that are approaching the end of their life. If your AC is more than 10 years old, the capacitor is most probably the issue. It is also worth noting that AC systems have delay mechanisms when you shut them down. Some models can take up to 10 minutes before they switch back on. So, you can wait for half an hour before you decide to call an AC professional.

4. Your AC Is Running but Blows Warm Air

Your system could be running, but it releases warm instead of cool, conditioned air. You can start by ensuring the thermostat is set to “cool” and not “off” or “heat.” The fan should be on “auto” and not “on.” Otherwise, it will run without conditioning the temperature. Another common culprit is the condenser coil. The condenser in your outdoor unit is responsible for dispelling heat to the outside of the building. Grime, twigs, and leaves can block the airflow to the outdoor unit and prevent it from cooling your interior. Before you call an AC service, ensure that the vents are fully open and free from obstructions. Check for furniture blocking the vents and remove them to allow air to flow freely. Your AC may only blow warm air if there is a leak in your refrigerant system. Depending on the size of the leak, the issue can develop gradually. Eventually, your air conditioner will overwork to maintain comfortable temperatures.

5. Noises From Your Air Conditioning Unit

Typically, the sound coming from your air conditioning system should be no more than a hum. If you hear unusual noises, it often indicates a malfunction in your equipment. Fortunately, those noises can help you troubleshoot a faulty AC. A high-pitched screeching sound is a sign of a failing AC motor in the outdoor condenser unit. The bearing could be defective, or the fan belt may need a replacement. To avoid further damage, shut down your system and wait for our experienced HVAC system technicians. Another sound you shouldn’t ignore is rattling, which could point to obstructions such as twigs in the outdoor unit. It may also indicate an electrical contact is defective or unsecured connections in your equipment. A timely repair by the Dynamic Air Services team in Anaheim can prevent damage to critical components. Hissing may be a sign of leaky ductwork. The leakage can overwork your equipment and increase your equipment’s energy consumption. Sometimes when you hear a hissing noise, the expansion valve is defective. By organizing an inspection of your system, you can uncover hidden faults.

6. Checking Thermostat Settings and Function

The thermostat is one of the most critical parts of your HVAC system. It ensures temperature regulation is precise for energy efficiency and comfort. Therefore, it is always advisable to check its configurations and performance. One common problem with thermostats is when the readings are incorrect. Your thermostat may record incorrect temperatures if it is in the wrong location. The device should never be in direct sunlight or in the presence of interior heat sources. You may want to replace the batteries to verify if the thermostat is faulty. Also, grime and dirt can prevent the device from registering correct temperatures. You can clean its cover and the contacts and test the device again. It is also possible that your thermostat is outdated. Older devices are more susceptible to failure. For example, a mercury thermostat needs to be level. Otherwise, its readings will be incorrect. One of the solutions is to replace your current device with a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat can learn household patterns and adjust accordingly. You can integrate programmable devices with a smart home system for extra convenience and comfort. With a programmable thermostat, you can check on your AC remotely to make adjustments where necessary. Because it is precise at temperature regulation, you can reduce your utility bills. Some devices can also generate reports to help you track your energy consumption. Before you acquire a new programmable device, you should check its compatibility with your HVAC system. You may not access some of the features if the thermostat is incompatible. Consider consulting our technicians when installing a new device for your home. When you need dependable AC services in Anaheim, rely on Dynamic Air Services. Our NATE-certified team has decades of experience offering a wide range of heating and cooling services. Dynamic Air Services in Anaheim is a recipient of the Angie’s List Super Service Award in 2019. We can provide services for heat pumps, ACs, and furnaces as well as indoor air quality solutions. Call our top-rated team for prompt AC repairs in Anaheim.
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