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Air Conditioners – Troubleshooting and Fixing

Generally, central air conditioner problems can be fixed without resorting to external help. Prior to calling in a professional, it is important to troubleshoot an air conditioner. Invariably, the air conditioner filter is found to be the most common issue behind the broken air conditioner scenario. When stuck in these situations, one tends to realize or understand the need for regular upkeep and maintenance of an air conditioner so that future issues can be prohibited and the quality of air improved, too.

Most homeowners usually carry out several DIY projects. Though fixing impaired air conditioners is not easy, the troubleshooting and maintenance aspect should be an easy stroll. When dealing with electrical equipment, the unit’s power must always be off on the electrical panel.


Understanding the basics is essential to properly troubleshoot central air conditioners. The evaporator and the condenser are important components that should be learnt prior to going ahead with the troubleshooting process. Mostly, the central AC would be connected to the air distribution system. The drain lines and the evaporator coil would be at the distribution center. Generally, the condenser unit is planted on a concrete slab on the outside of the house.Fixing an Air Conditioner

Before assuming a broken AC unit, the temperature should be set lower than the house’s current temperature. The power must also be on.

The AC filter is usually looked into at the end of the troubleshooting activity; however, it’s still very important. With a clogged filter, air flow would get restricted.

If the AC comes on but does not give the desired cooling effect, then the issue is most probably with the distribution system. Unfortunately, under these scenarios, a professional would have to be hired to fix the issue.

Cooling air ducts could also be behind the poor air flow issues. During inspection, all the connections should be checked so that they are secure and devoid of bends.

If the AC is really broken, it would rarely be a faulty compressor. Repairing a compressor can be quite expensive as the component usually does not go defunct at will.


As previously mentioned, the air conditioner filter is an integral aspect when it comes to unit maintenance. The AC compressor should be covered in winter and the filter replaced at least two times in a year. This would negate operational issues, such as ice-covered coils.

In case of dehumidification issues, the bigger size of the unit would most probably be the issue. The air ducts should also be checked for insulation.


Unfortunately, even some of the best and reliable AC units can fail. Under these circumstances, one would invariably end up spending time waiting for the mechanic to arrive, besides tackling the costly repair bill.

It is, therefore, important to keep the AC in proper working condition. Though one may not usually realize it, but heating and cooling could be among the costly home energy costs. It’s essential to not overlook basic AC maintenance, so that the unit’s efficiency is elongated.

Central AC’s

If one relies on central AC’s installed outside the house, usually in the yard, one must be aware that the unit makes use of the same centralized duct network that provides heat to the different areas of the house during winter. While the unit must be kept clean and cleared of overgrown plants or grass, any problem leading to inefficient cooling could be attributed to the ducts themselves.

The Ducts

One must check all the ducts throughout the house, scouting for signs of holes, obvious cracks, tears, or defects. Air could also leak at a point where two ducting sessions are joined. A duct tape can be used to seal any areas with leaks. However, this would only serve as a temporary solution to the problem. Eventually, the defective duct sections would have to be replaced entirely.

Window AC’s

Based on the room’s size and the capability of the air conditioner, window AC’s are typically good at cooling a single room. When broken, the problem could be a real headache. At times, the issue can be very trivial, such as the fan not being oiled properly, which can be rectified by adding little quantities of motor oil to the visible intakes. However, issues with window AC’s are generally the result of grime and dirt accumulation within the unit.

Dirt and Blockage

Window units could be very sensitive to dirt and blockage, and the lack of regular cleaning and maintenance is typically the reason behind several issues people face with their air conditioning units. Prior to checking for any obvious blockage signs, the unit must be switched off and unplugged.

The Filter

The filter of a window air conditioner is located directly behind the front grille of the unit. While some of these units’ accessible filters or front grilles are easily detachable, other units may need a few screws to be yanked off before getting access to the filter. Even if no major issues of blockage are found, it’s always wise to have the filter conspicuously new with the help of a wet rag and a cleaning solution. Prior to re-installing the filter, it must be completely dried.

Calling an Expert

Window AC’s could also suffer from other issues relating to a faulty thermostat or a defective fan motor. Central AC’s have a variety of parts that could simply fail altogether or go bad. When in such situations, a professional would have to be contacted and the component ordering and replacement process should be initiated keeping the installation schedule in mind. While some could feel that they may tackle the part replacement process themselves, AC’s mostly rely on specific components that should be specially ordered and fixed into place by the professionals.


The above were some of the fundamental issues and troubleshooting steps to diagnose a broken AC unit. However, there could be a gamut of many other causes behind the non-functioning of an air conditioning system. Prevention is always better than cure and with proper maintenance, any system should be able to march forward for several years.