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DIY for AC: A Homeowner’s Guide to AC Repair Tips

DIY for AC: A Homeowner’s Guide to AC Repair Tips

The annual energy bill for a typical single-family home is now $2,060—cooling and heating your home accounts for about 42%. Unfortunately, issues with your air conditioner could cause your energy bill to rise. Don't let common HVAC unit problems steal money from your wallet. Instead, use these eight AC repair tips to troubleshoot the issue. With these tips, you can make sure your energy bill doesn't continue to rise.

Instead, you can put money back into your wallet.

Discover how to fix common AC issues with this easy air conditioner repair guide today!

1. Refrigerant Leaks

The Freon, or AC refrigerant, in your unit is responsible for keeping the air cool. If your AC unit doesn't have refrigerant, it will try to push warm air through the system.

Is your AC blowing warm air? Check your unit for potential refrigerant leaks.

If the unit doesn't have enough Freon, it might not work efficiently. Once your refrigerant starts leaking, the efficiency of your AC unit will start to decline. You'll need to consider air conditioner repair right away.

Otherwise, your energy bill will start to rise as the unit works overtime to push air through. Freon is harmful to the environment as well.

First, you'll need to find and fix the refrigerant leak. Then, you'll need to top-up the refrigerant to ensure your unit has enough.

In some cases, however, a refrigerant leak could indicate a bigger problem. Consider having a professional HVAC technician review your unit. They might help you recognize that you need a new unit altogether.

Before adding the refrigerant on your own, it's important to avoid over-or under-charging the refrigerant. Make sure the refrigerant charge matches the manufacturer's specifications.

Otherwise, your unit might not work properly, even after using these AC repair tips.

There are a few different tactics you can use to find the source of the leak. First, try the dye test. Purchase a fluorescent dye to pour into the HVAC system.

Once the dye circulates throughout the system, you should see it seep through the source of the leak.

If that doesn't work, consider using a defective lamp instead. You can find where the refrigerant is leaking from on your own. This process can take time and resources, though.

If you struggle to find the leak alone, call an AC repair company right away.

2. Electric Failure

man repairing air conditioning unit


Make sure your AC unit is turning on and off properly. If your unit doesn't turn off, you may be experiencing an electrical issue.

Your unit's compression and system fan can begin to wear out over time. The compression, condenser motor, and blower motor are connected with wires. If a wire or terminal becomes corroded, the motor and compressor might not work.

Electrical power comprised 44% of energy use in US households. If these components aren't working properly, your energy use can increase. Instead, use these air conditioner repair tips before your bills start to rise.

First, check the electrical connection. Take a look at the wires and each terminal, too.

If you're nervous about reviewing the unit's electrical system, call a professional. They can make the necessary repairs safely and efficiently.

3. Water Leaks

Freon isn't the only thing that might leak from your unit. Water could start to leak, too.

Usually, a leak can develop if the condensate drain gets clogged. Algae or fungi may be causing a clog in the system. Water will start to back up as a result.

The condensate pump might break down over time, too.

To fix the leak, you might need to replace the condensate pump. Then, unclog the pip using a wet or dry vacuum. Afterward, pour six ounces of vinegar into the drain.

The vinegar can kill any fungi or algae that's clogging the drain.

Consider scheduling routine maintenance with your local AC repair company. They can help increase the life of your unit. They'll also ensure you catch any small problems with your unit before they become big issues.

For example, they might recognize evidence of improper installation issues, a broken condensate pan, or a bad AC seal. Requesting central air conditioning repair could save you time and effort.

Catching potential problems before they get worse can help you avoid more expensive repairs. It could help you avoid purchasing a brand new unit, too.

4. Dirty Coils

Regular HVAC maintenance can reduce HVAC energy costs by 5 to 40%. Using this guide to AC repair can help you recognize issues before they develop further. For example, you might notice your coils have gotten dirty over time.

Check your condenser coils to make sure they're not covered in grime and dirt. If they're dirty, they might not work efficiently. This problem often occurs in areas with high amounts of air pollution.

Once you clean up the coils, heat will have an easier time transferring properly.

Otherwise, the AC unit will need to work twice as hard. Components could start experiencing wear and tear as a result.

Make sure the unit is turned off before you clean it. Then, use a water hose or compressed air. Using water is usually the safer option.

Make sure to point the hose straight at the coil rather than at an angle. Otherwise, you could risk bending the coil fans.

Once the coil is clean, turn your AC unit back on. You should hear the compressor running.

If it's still not running properly, consider calling your local AC experts. Their air conditioner troubleshooting services can ensure you're not dealing with a bigger issue.

5. Plugged Filters

Dirty Air Filters

The AC unit's filter is responsible for catching pollutants like dust and dander before they can ruin the clean air throughout your home. Unfortunately, the filters can become clogged over time. A clogged filter can restrict airflow.

The unit will try working twice as hard to push air through the filter as a result. This process could cause the unit's energy efficiency to decline.

Try to change your filter every three months. If you have a pet, change it more often.

Make sure to shut the power off first. Then, remove the old filter. Find a replacement filter that's the same size and rating.

Make sure the arrow is printed on the filter points in the right direction. Then, turn the power back on.

In the meantime, make sure to avoid these common air filter mistakes.

6. Frozen AC Evaporator Coils

If your AC evaporator has frozen over, try to give it a little time to thaw out.

Sometimes, the evaporator coil can freeze if the air filter becomes clogged. It might struggle to receive air, which can help the coil absorb heat.

Make sure to thaw the coil completely before you restart the AC. If you start the AC too soon, it might freeze again.

Consider setting the thermostat so that the AC is off, but the fan remains on. The fan will continue blowing warm air over the coil.

Don't set your thermostat to heat. Turning the temperature up could leave the heat exchanger without proper airflow. You might experience additional problems with your unit.

7. Failed Condenser Fans

ductless life expectancy

Set your thermostat to cool and turn the temperature setting down. Make sure you've turned the power on for your outdoor unit, too. That way, you can determine if the outdoor unit is receiving a control signal.

Then, take the control panel on the condensing unit off. You can use a multimeter to make sure the contractor is working. You should have 24 volts across the contractor.

If the contractor works, it's possible the condenser fan isn't running.

The condenser fan isn't running; the compression will cycle on and off a few times.

Turn off power to the outdoor condenser unit. Then, use screwdrivers to remove the unit's cover.

Disconnect the motor from the cover. Then, remove the fan blade from the motor shaft.

From there, you can install the new motor with your old fan blade. In some cases, a new motor will come with another blade.

You're going to need to reconnect the new fan motor's power cables. If you're uncomfortable with this process, call a professional right away.

8. Failed Capacitors

In some cases, the condenser fan and compressor won't run properly. You'll need to remove the capacitor from the retaining bracket.

Each AC unit will have at least one capacitor, which stores and releases electricity. The capacitor gives the compression and condenser motors power. It also minimizes voltage fluctuations, which can protect the motors from potential damage.

If the capacitors fail, the compressor and condenser fan will need to work harder. Their life span will diminish. You'll need to replace your capacitors every few years.

You can discharge the capacitor and install a new one to get your unit back up and running.

DIY for a More Efficient AC: Your Guide to Easy AC Repair

DIY sign

Don't let problems with your HVAC unit cause your energy bills to skyrocket. Instead, consider these eight easy AC repair tips. With these tips, you can get your unit back up and running in no time.

Remember, routine maintenance can improve your unit's energy efficiency and lifespan. This too much and you would rather leave it to the professionals? Crystal Heating and Cooling are here for you.

From end to end we're here to help. Request a service call with Crystal Heating and Cooling today to get started.

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