3 Pro Tips for Solving (and Preventing) Air Conditioning Problems
Saint Patrick’s Day is the harbinger of spring for many folks - even if it happens to land a little before or after the official equinox. And of course, with springtime comes warmer weather and longer days. So it’s around this time that most people (especially in warmer regions like Southern California) stop using the heater and start cranking up the air conditioner.
And as AC usage increases, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to experience problems or hiccups with their AC systems. Fortunately, many of these seemingly dire issues often come down to a relatively easy fix. So before calling the nearest air conditioner repair company, homeowners may be able to save money and hassle by first eliminating these three possible causes of AC troubles.
Put In a Fresh Air Filter
The air filter is the first thing to check when the air conditioner isn’t working properly. When the filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust, hair, and other household particulates, the air handler won’t be able to pull in the air as effectively. This can drive up energy consumption, hinder unit performance, allow dirt to accumulate on internal components, and even cause the evaporator coils to freeze over. Problems like weak or warm air coming from the vents, uneven cooling, and poor air quality can result in a dirty filter.
Fortunately, the solution is simple: change the air filter! Or, if the home has a washable filter, it should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ideal air filter replacement or cleaning schedule depends on various factors, such as the number of pets in the home, the overall level of dust (some rural homes may get more dirt or pollen tracked in), and any respiratory sensitivities of the occupants, but every 3-4 months is a good baseline.
Make Sure the Thermostat Isn’t the Problem
The thermostat is the next place to turn when the AC starts acting up. Dirt and dust can accumulate inside the thermostat and interfere with sensors or other electrical components. Wires can come loose or become corroded over time. Something could cause the thermostat breaker to trip. Older mechanical thermostats feature mercury bulbs that one can knock off balance with a bump.
These issues can cause a range of cooling problems, such as short-cycling (the system turns on and off repeatedly), continuous running, incorrect indoor temperature, and total system failure or shutdown.
If the thermostat screen is blank or the unit has suddenly stopped working, the best bet is to check the breaker or try replacing the thermostat batteries. When the unit is not performing correctly, homeowners can turn off the breaker and then remove the thermostat cover to inspect the internal components for dust, an off-kilter mercury bulb, loose wires, or other visual evidence. If there’s no obvious problem, or if the breaker continues to trip, it’s good to call an AC repair specialist to diagnose the issue.
Schedule a Tune-Up for Year-Round Protection
Finally, some AC performance problems may simply result from inadequate maintenance. This is the leading cause of heater and AC breakdowns and is usually preceded by one or more of the issues mentioned above - the house won’t get cool enough, the unit is always on, the HVAC breaker keeps tripping, etc.
A typical air conditioner tune-up and maintenance visit involves thoroughly cleaning the unit, lubricating fan bearings and other moving parts, checking belts and other components for wear and tear (and replacing them if need be), testing electrical systems, measuring performance metrics, recharging refrigerant lines, and numerous other tasks that ensure that the entire cooling system is in good shape and running at peak performance.
Whether homeowners are experiencing problems or not, it’s a good idea to schedule AC maintenance in the spring before the heat of summer arrives in full force - it’s truly the best way to ensure good luck all year long!
About KC’s 23 ½ Hour Plumbing and Air Conditioning
KC’s 23 ½ Hour Plumbing and Air Conditioning has been serving the Coachella Valley for over 40 years. As an award-winning and highly-rated local business, they offer flat-rate pricing, 24/7 emergency service, and a rewarding membership plan. They also guarantee 100% satisfaction on every job, so there’s no one better to call for air conditioner maintenance and repair in Palm Springs, CA.