When your air conditioner breaks down, it can feel like an emergency. But a little investigation on your part can help you determine what’s wrong and how to fix it. And if it’s something simple, you can often do the work yourself.
First, check to make sure the thermostat is set properly and that the fan is working. If it’s not, the problem could be in the furnace or a circuit breaker on the outside condensing unit (see images below).
Another common issue is that the air filter is dirty. This can cause the system Air Conditioner Repair to run longer than necessary, which reduces efficiency and increases energy costs. It’s best to clean the filter and change it regularly.
Next, check the air ducts for leaks. If there are any, they can cause problems with refrigerant flow, which reduces efficiency and can cause an expensive repair bill.
Once you’ve determined the cause, call a professional to diagnose the issue and repair it. This isn’t an easy or cheap job, but it will save you money in the long run by preventing costly repairs down the road.
If the air filter is clean but you still can’t seem to get the temperature down, it may be time to replace the air filter. Changing the air filter regularly can reduce allergens, improve indoor comfort and decrease energy consumption.
The outdoor condenser coil needs to be cleaned and clogged occasionally. Falling leaves and dirt, especially near dryer vents, can clog the coil and interfere with airflow. To minimize this, rake or trim back vegetation and branches at least 2 feet in all directions around the unit. You can also use a fin comb to gently comb the aluminum fins on the coil.
You can also clean the inside of the fan cage on the exterior condenser/compressor with a brush or wet/dry vacuum. This will help keep the fan running smoothly and prevent a breakdown that could require an expensive repair.
Lastly, you can replace the contactor and start/run capacitors, which are inexpensive and can be purchased at an appliance store or HVAC dealer. The contactor is a relay that activates the compressor, and the start/run capacitor is the circuit board that controls the compressor’s fan motor.
Costs vary depending on the type of repair and parts that need to be replaced. However, a typical central AC system can cost between $100 and $650 to fix. Window and portable units are much cheaper, although they can also be more complex to work on than central AC systems.
The best way to decide whether to repair or replace your air conditioning system is to weigh the cost of repairs compared with the price of a new system. If the total of all repair expenses exceeds $5,000, you might want to consider replacing your system.