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Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Blog

AC Problem? Try This Troubleshooting Checklist


It’s a terrible feeling, panicking and calling for urgent AC repairs only to find out that what you thought was a serious problem was simply that you’d left a switch in the wrong position. Of course, you don’t want to fail to get repairs when they are necessary! That could lead to a problem getting worse and the repair ending up being more costly and inconvenient when you do finally have it done.

So how can you tell whether the AC problem requires the attention of a professional HVAC technician or whether you just have a simple, minor error on your hands that you can remedy yourself? Whenever you seem to have an issue with your air conditioner, go through this quick troubleshooting checklist. Your problem might be resolved in seconds!

Step 1: Is There Power?

Item one on the checklist involves taking a quick look at your electrical panel. Have any of the circuits overloaded? If so, you’ll see a switch that’s out of position instead of lined up with the others, and you can just flip it back where it belongs. This might be a one-time problem, but if it keeps happening, you do need a technician to check over your AC system for electrical issues.

Step 2: Is the Thermostat Set Correctly?

Your air conditioner won’t provide the cooling you need if it isn’t getting the signal to turn on. Of course, something could be wrong with your thermostat that does require professional attention. But it might simply be that it was mistakenly bumped into the “off” or “heat” setting or that some programming was activated which keeps your home at a higher temperature than you intended.

Step 3: Is Your Air Filter Clogged?

The air conditioner’s air filter prevents particles like dust and grit from getting into the moving parts of the system, causing friction, overheating, and more. But it needs to be cleaned or swapped out every month during high-use times. If it gets clogged with dust, it won’t allow enough air through. This can cause the system to shut down.

Step 4: Is Your Outdoor Unit Dirty?

The outdoor unit contains the condenser coils, where heat is allowed to dissipate from the refrigerant before it flows back into your home. A dirty outdoor unit won’t allow the air circulation that’s necessary for that heat to dissipate. The dirt (or lawn clippings, last fall’s leaves, overgrown shrubbery, etc.) will hold the heat in. Clean the unit off with a gentle hose and rake or trim any mess away. 

Step 5: Is It Time for Professional Help?

If none of these steps have solved your problem, or if you were able to solve the problem but it occurred again in short order, you need air conditioning service in Washington, DC. A trained, qualified technician can quickly get to the bottom of your concern, finding the root cause and repairing it so you can enjoy your summer in cool comfort.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or ask any questions you have about your air conditioner.

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