AC Repair – 5 Things You Can Do Before Calling a Repairman
AC Repair Sherman Oaks technician starts by examining the air conditioner’s key components. They look for the following:
The outdoor unit houses the compressor, fan and condenser coil. These components work together to transfer heat from your home to the outdoors, creating cool indoor air.
During this AC Repair process, the repairman might check your circuit breaker. Sometimes, simply switching the breaker on can solve your problem.
Refrigerant Level Check
A leaking or low refrigerant level in an AC system will cause the unit to operate inefficiently, increasing energy consumption and leading to high electricity bills. This is why it’s important to have your air conditioning unit serviced by a professional. They will use specialized equipment to check both sides of the evaporator coil for pressure and temperature readings.
First, they’ll need to turn off the AC system for safety reasons. Then they’ll use a vacuum pump to remove any excess liquid from the evaporator coil. The technician will then check the gauges to see if the refrigerant level is in the proper range.
When the technician is confident that the refrigerant level is in the correct range, they’ll begin to diagnose any other problems with the system. The next step will be to check the thermostat. They’ll be sure that it is flipped to “cool” and that the setting is not too high or too low.
If the thermostat isn’t a problem, the technician will move on to checking the condenser fan motor and electrical components. They’ll also test the fuses and breakers to make sure they’re working correctly.
This is the most difficult part of the troubleshooting process, and it’s not uncommon for the technician to spend up to half of a day on this alone. This is because it’s important to note that there are many possible causes of a specific issue, including issues with wiring, fans and electrical connections.
Hissing noises are a common sign that your AC unit may have a problem with its refrigerant levels. A qualified technician will be able to spot this quickly and will have the necessary tools to fix the problem.
If the refrigerant is leaking, the technician will use a leak detection solution to identify the source of the leak. The solution will be applied to the system components and will produce bubbles if there is a leak. The technician will then add refrigerant to the system, following the manufacturer’s instructions for doing so. After doing so, they’ll recheck the pressure readings to ensure that the refrigerant level is in an acceptable range.
Condenser Coil Cleaning
Your AC’s coils are crucial to the air conditioner’s function, but they can also get quite dirty over time. Dirty coils cause the system to work harder than it should, leading to higher energy bills. They can also lead to shortened system life and more expensive repair costs.
A professional AC technician will begin by visually inspecting the coils to see if they’re clogged with large debris like leaves and spider webs. Next, the tech will use a special brush designed for cleaning coils (available at most AC stores and big box hardware stores) to clean the dirt off the coils. This will be a light scrub; the goal isn’t to get the coils spotless, but to remove any large debris that may be blocking the flow of refrigerant through them.
If the coils look pretty clear, the tech will move on to the condenser fan located in the outdoor unit. This is an external-facing component that helps to blow the warm air from your building outside. The technician will loosen the screws that hold the cover grill to expose the fan. He will then clean the fan blades with a vacuum cleaner and cleaning rags. Then he will wipe down the inside of the fan housing using a damp rag and check the fan motor to see if it needs oil.
Lastly, the AC technician will inspect the evaporator coils to make sure they’re clean and free of debris. This is a critical step to ensure that the refrigerant can flow freely through them, cooling your home properly. Depending on how dirty the evaporator coils are, you may need to rinse them with an AC foaming cleaner, available at most big box hardware stores and AC shops.
This special soap has been formulated to help clean AC coils without damaging them, and the foaming action helps it adhere to the surface of the coils while it’s working. After you rinse the evaporator coils, you’ll need to close up the access door and turn off your system at the breaker box. Finally, the technician will turn on your system again to test that it’s functioning correctly and that the coils have been cleaned effectively.
Condenser Fan Cleaning
In order for your AC system to work effectively, the coolant needs to be able to flow freely. When this is not the case, you may notice that your air conditioner runs, but you don’t feel a rush of cool air coming from your vents. There could be a few different reasons why this is occurring, but it is essential to determine the cause of the problem so you can find an AC repair solution that works for your home.
The air conditioning technician will look for any potential problems with the airflow within your home’s ductwork and air filters. These problems can restrict the amount of cool air that is delivered to your home, and they will be identified through a series of tests and HVAC diagnostic techniques.
If your cooling system is not producing enough cool air, there may be a refrigerant leak somewhere in the line. The AC Repair technician will look for this by performing a system pressure test, and he or she will use specialized equipment to locate the leak. If the technician finds a refrigerant leak, it is vital to make sure that this problem is fixed as soon as possible.
A leak in the refrigerant line can also be caused by a clogged condensate drain. The AC Repair technician will check the condition of this drain, and he or she will clean any blockages that are preventing water from exiting the system.
Finally, the AC repair technician will inspect the condenser fan and cleaning it of dirt and debris. To do this, the technician will shut off electrical power to the unit at the electric panel and switch. Then the technician will remove the outdoor condenser fan, and he or she will use a fin comb to straighten any bent or damaged coil fins. Then the technician will wash away any dirt and debris that is left behind with a garden hose set at low pressure to avoid damaging the fins.
Once the condenser fan is clean, it will need to be reassembled and put back into place. The quick disconnect may need to be replaced after this, but the technician should not have any trouble reassembling it with minimal effort.
Electrical Component Testing
If your air conditioner is not cooling the house, there are many reasons why this might be happening. Often the problem can be sorted out without even needing to call an AC company for repair services. The five troubleshooting steps you can do before calling an AC repairman include:
If you are unsure what is wrong, start by visually inspecting the components on the circuit board to make sure they are in good condition. This involves looking at the physical appearance of the components and checking for obvious damage such as cracks, chips, or burns. A quick visual inspection can often spot problems that need more advanced testing tools and techniques, such as a microscope or magnifying glass.
Next, test the circuit board for continuity, resistance, and voltage. This can be done with a multimeter that can handle AC and DC voltages. A continuity test checks whether two parts of the circuit allow electricity to flow through them. Resistance and voltage tests can also be done on the circuit board itself, but it is important to ensure that all of the components are disconnected from power before starting any electrical testing.
In addition, you can check the thermostat for proper calibration and settings. The thermostat is the brain of your AC system and is essential to regulating temperatures within residential spaces. If the thermostat isn’t calibrated properly, or the temperature sensors are faulty, this may be the reason why your air conditioning isn’t working correctly.
Taking these steps before calling an AC technician can save you money on expensive repairs and ensure that your AC is functioning at optimal efficiency. By following these simple tips, you can help the service technician find the cause of your AC malfunction and resolve it quickly. Hopefully this will give you years of cool and comfortable air! Ron Walker is a former Marine with a B.S. degree who spent many years in the HVAC industry as a professional service technician and manager. He has also spent time training other technicians in the industry to be more knowledgeable and technically competent. This passion led to the creation of HVAC Training Solutions, LLC.