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Troubleshooting Common Air Conditioning Problems | Fred's Home Services
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Troubleshooting Common Air Conditioning Problems | Fred's Home Services

Troubleshooting Common Air Conditioning Problems

Man looking at and adjusting a wall thermostat.

These are the end of the dog days. As we start to wind our way toward autumn, we're dreaming of steamy drinks and cozy fires, but we're still seeing summer weather. And this Cleveland summer has been one for the record books, with consistent, above-average highs. Air conditioning units have taken a beating, and when a system is stressed, it shows its weak points. But the problem could have a simple fix that any homeowner could easily tackle. So here are some suggestions that you can employ to keep your air conditioning in top shape as we ride out the close of summer.

Pinpoint the Source

Whether you're experiencing odd temperature shifts, inconsistent cooling, or a dustier environment, we'll clue you in to some simple fixes. The first line of attack is to track down the source of the issue. Check these solid tips and see if you can get things running smoothly again.

Inconsistent Cooling

The first thing to do is to check the thermostat and fan settings. This solution seems obvious, but there's always a possibility that someone bumped a dial or switch, and that the thermostat has actually been set to run the heating system or is merely recycling uncooled air through the home. Reset to cool and be sure that the fan setting is on "auto." Wait for a while to be sure that everything runs correctly and that you're getting consistent temperatures, and call this issue fixed.

Another easy fix is to change the thermostat batteries. Check the display for a low battery symbol and take a moment to investigate what you're seeing. If the display is weak, inconsistent, or flickers, you can bet that power isn't getting from the thermostat to the cooling system. If your model doesn't use batteries but is wired in and you're still seeing signs of poor connectivity, it could be time to give a pro a call.

Modern air conditioning systems are very sensitive to buildup or debris, so another possible solution could be to inspect the vents. Do a thorough check to ensure that they are clean and clear and that nothing is preventing air flow. If everything looks fine but the flow still seems to be restricted, it could be time for a deeper inspection. A vermin infestation further down the line or mold growth could be hidden culprits.

As unpredictable as this summer has been, scheduled maintenance tasks could have slipped by, unnoticed. Changing the air filter on your air conditioning unit is vital to effective cooling. If that filter accumulates too much dirt or dust, not only will it slow the system down, but the quality of air in your home will likely suffer too. This is a simple fix, but if you aren't sure about the best filter for your unit, always feel free to give Fred's Home Services a call to discuss.

Another possible culprit for inconsistent cooling could be a dirty evaporator. It is possible for homeowners to carefully clean this part and then allow the system to cycle for a few hours. If you don't feel confident in doing this, we are always here to help.

If you've done all the above and things still aren't cooling down, step outside and take a look around the condenser. If your system's condenser is dirty or blocked by tall plant growth, lawn clippings, leaves, or other airborne debris, it won't be able to turn out the cool air you're craving. Tidying up is a simple way to ensure that the system runs smoothly.

Sporadic Operation

A system running with a dirty or blocked condenser unit or a dirty evaporator can operate in fits and starts as it struggles to get the clear air flow it needs. A basic cleaning of the parts involved along with clearing any nearby obstructions to air flow should solve the problem.

If your air conditioning system shuts off suddenly and doesn't resume operation, the problem could lie in the electrical realm. Check your circuit breaker to see if it needs to be reset, making sure that everything fits tightly. If it continues to function erratically, and you've tried a variety of the above suggestions, an electrical component or the unit's motor could be to blame, and you'll need a pro to investigate.

Non-operational Air Condenser

The first and most obvious solution is to ensure that the unit is in fact connected to a power source. If it is, the next place to check is the electrical panel. Look for a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse. After restoring power to the unit, wait to make sure it starts up and operates normally. If it doesn't, and if you've tried other maintenance solutions, we are happy to help in diagnosing the problem.

One possible solution could lie in checking the thermostat settings. Adjust the temperature to a cooler setting – five degrees will usually do the trick – and see if the condenser kicks on. If not, the compressor or motor could be at fault, and that will take professional assessment. But if it does still operate and the cooling isn't up to par, try some of the above suggestions. Reach out to Fred's Home Services if the issue doesn't resolve itself.

Most of us are spending far more time indoors this summer with lights and devices constantly running. In these circumstances, any inconsistency in our cooling system is going to be far more noticeable than usual. In fact, you could come to realize that cooling is spotty or just not enough for your family's needs. Taking practical measures to lower indoor temperatures is a first step. But it could just be that this summer's abnormal and sustained high temperatures have taken their toll. It could also be the case that your home's air conditioning unit isn't large enough to accommodate your home. If it's an older model, it could need new parts, or it could just be giving out. To know where the solution lies, we'd always recommend trying any simple fixes you can, and then leaning on an expert if need be. At Fred's Home Services we are always ready to help.

DIY vs. Professional

Quite a few "fixes" can be made by the average homeowner. A handier person with some basic knowledge of a heating and cooling system can probably get a bit further. But once it comes to major repairs or replacements, it' always best to get a set of expert eyes on the problem. And if the root cause turns out to be leaking or inadequate coolant, or a faulty motor, these are jobs that could require special skill and certification. And in the case of a newer unit that's within warranty, servicing the unit on your own could very well void coverage.

Rely on an Expert

At Fred's Home Services, we love educating homeowners – we want you to get involved in your home's maintenance! Taking simple steps can allow you to save money and time, and give you the pride that comes with self-reliance. However, if problems take a turn and veer outside of your knowledge base, there's no shame in calling an expert – that's what we're here for. At Fred's Home Services we are ready to service any and all air conditioning system problems with reliable, quality parts and convenient scheduling. Our experienced technicians are EPA-certified and pride themselves on maintaining your HVAC system to its highest efficiency. So if your cooling system needs some professional help, don't hesitate to call (216) 481-4200 or use our online contact form to get in touch today! We look forward to serving you.

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