Have you ever been faced with the dilemma about whether or not you need to call a repairperson to correct an HVAC problem? Repair work on this system has the potential to be extremely expensive, and most homeowners would do anything to avoid the unnecessary cost. The national average for repair costs on an HVAC system are typically around $335. Homeowners often wonder if there’s any possible way they could avoid picking up the phone in order to spare an already-tight budget.
At Classic Air Conditioning and Heating, we aim to charge you fairly and we never do work that’s unnecessary. However, that may not necessarily mean that you’re looking forward to calling us on a hot summer day right after your air conditioning unit finally sputtered to a grinding halt. The good news is that we may not really need to come out to make a repair to your unit.
There are a few things you can check for at home before you call in a professional. Correcting a couple of minor issues on your own could solve the problem and save you some serious cash. Next time your air conditioner decides to stop working, take these proactive steps to get it back up and running on your own.
Check the unit outside for debris
Common sense sometimes goes right out the window when you’re faced with a crisis. You may be envisioning dollar signs racking up when you hear the air conditioner screech to a stop, but there could be a real cause. Go outside to check on the unit and see if you can spot any debris that could be interfering with your fan blades.
There may be a broken limb, a small twig, or a buildup of leaves that are causing your system to strain too hard in the summer heat. Turn the power to the air conditioning unit off before attempting to remove the pieces yourself. Give the machine a break for a little while before attempting to turn it back on.
If you still hear mechanical sounds such a squeaking, grinding, or clanging, you may need to call a repairperson to take a look at the issue.
See if there’s a cause for reduced airflow
Sometimes the issue has little to do with the unit itself. The interior conditions of your home might be preventing the unit from running at its maximum capacity. The ductwork and air returns could be blocked, restricting the amount of airflow into the home that is possible. Take a look at all of your air returns to see if you can identify anything that may be blocking the flow of cool air into the home.
Another cause of reduced airflow could be your air filter. These should be changed every sixty to ninety days. Without frequent changing, they can build up a collection of particles, allergens, and debris that make it nearly impossible for fresh air to get through. This simple solution could prevent you from having to call a repair person to examine the motor or compressor.
Double check the thermostat
The answer to your air conditioning dilemma could simply be that your thermostat isn’t set properly. If you have children, there is a real possibility that they were tempted to touch the buttons and somehow shift the settings you normally keep. Before you call a repairperson, make sure that you’ve taken a close look at your thermostat to check that it’s working and set to the proper conditions for your home.
Take a look at the breaker box
Has your air conditioner stopped running rather suddenly with no real warning? The problem may be in your electrical system instead of with the HVAC unit itself. Depending on the layout of your home and the style of your breaker, the power running to the unit could be controlled by a switch that looks very similar to a light switch. Be sure to check whether there is power running to the machine before you call out a repair person.
The issue could also be with the disconnect switch near an outdoor unit. The fuse could be blown or flipped, rendering your machine unable to perform its duties. Homeowners should be able to check these fuses on their own, as well as install a replacement if necessary. Taking a look at simple items like these can really save you a lot of money on potential repair costs.
Look for clogs in the condensate drain line
A minor clog in the condensate drain line can cause an overflow of water into the condensate pan. Ordinarily, the evaporator coils will drip their condensation into the pan, which is then filtered out and away through the condensate drain line. Unfortunately, a clog in the drain line can prevent the water from moving through the system appropriately and cause it to overflow instead.
Some units are wired to turn themselves off when the water begins to overflow this pan, preventing lots of water damage and further wear and tear on the machine. You may be able to unclog the condensate drain line all on your own if you’re particularly handy.
Turn the air conditioning unit off and ensure that there is no electricity running in the machine before you begin. Locate the drain line hose and remove it from the drain. You can check for a potential clog by attempting to run water through the line. If it doesn’t come out the other side, something is obviously blocking it.
Clogs can be removed using a powerful shop vacuum or dislodged using anything you may have around the house. Flush it out with bleach and thoroughly rinse with cool water before you replace the drain line. Once this is complete, attempt to turn the air conditioning unit back on to determine if this will solve the problem. If it doesn’t, you may still need to call a repairperson.
Save money by checking for things on your own first
Many HVAC technicians make it out to the home only to find that the solution was relatively simple. These common-sense steps can help you to save money on the costs of repair work for your HVAC system over the years. Not only will you be more aware of how well your HVAC system functions, but you will develop the skills you need to keep it running well throughout the years.
These steps aren’t a substitution for annual maintenance or a professional inspection. However, they can be great ways to save a few dollars on an unnecessary repair. Next time you find that your air conditioning unit isn’t producing cold air the way it should, take a look around to see if you can spot the problem first.