annual maintenance Category
If things go wrong with your cooling system, how much air conditioning troubleshooting should you attempt yourself? Where’s the tipping point when it comes to when to call in a qualified professional, instead? The fact is, technology incorporated in today’s central air conditioners is complex and beyond the expertise of the average homeowner. For this reason—as well as valid safety concerns and warranty restrictions, too—the list of DIY air conditioner troubleshooting is necessarily short.
Nevertheless, a few basic steps will at least eliminate obvious issues and narrow down the causes.
Air Conditioning Troubleshooting Tips Before You Call a Professional
A/C doesn’t start at all. First check the thermostat and make sure the system’s in “Cooling” mode. Also verify that the desired temperature setting is at least 5 degrees below the displayed room temperature. If everything appears correct, look inside the main electrical panel for any tripped circuit breakers. If you notice one, don’t reset it. Call a qualified HVAC contractor and inform them.
System runs but poor cooling performance, low airflow, etc. Inspect the system air filter. Does it appear dusty and dirty? Remove the filter and take it to a home center to buy a replacement. Install the new filter and check the airflow. Also, make sure nothing’s obstructing vents on the outdoor half of the A/C system: fallen leaves or objects someone placed on top of the fan grille can be the problem, as can encroaching weeds or other vegetation that obstructs side air vents. If the problem persists, you need professional help.
Leaking water. If you notice water around the indoor air handler, check the wide condensate drain pan situated underneath. Is standing water inside the pan? Overflow caused by a clogged condensate drain line is likely and will require a qualified HVAC technician to clear the clog. Another possible cause of leakage is ice forming on the evaporator coil inside the air handler. This is usually the result of a very dirty coil or low refrigerant level—both requiring professional service to diagnose and resolve.
If basic air conditioner troubleshooting hasn’t solved your cooling problems, contact a professional at Apollo Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Plumbing.
Are your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors installed and working properly? If not, they can’t warn your family when lethal gas is present or a fire occurs and smoke is spreading through your home.
To ensure they’re ready and able to sound a shrill, live-saving alarm, put a detector checkup at the top of your spring home maintenance to-do list.
Checking Smoke/CO Detectors Regularly is Crucial for Safety
If you’re not testing your detectors regularly, you won’t know if the batteries have died or if a key component has worn out or failed. You need to test each device once a month and replace the batteries twice a year. This is critical even if your detectors are hard-wired, since your safety during a power outage depends on having functional back-up batteries.
How to Test Smoke Detectors
It’s best to check your owner’s manual for specific instructions, but generally, both battery-operated and hard-wired smoke detectors can be tested as follows:
- Locate the “test” button then press and hold it down – After a few seconds, the detector should emit a shrill, ear-piercing sound. If there’s no noise or the alarm is weak, replace the batteries and test it again.
- Test each device for smoke sensitivity – Hold two or three lighted wooden matches up to each detector, then blow out the flames to see if the smoke sets off the alarm.
- Make sure the alarms are heard loud and clear – Have a family member go as far from the device as possible to determine if the alarm is audible. If the sound is weak or muffled in certain areas, it’s wise to have additional detectors installed.
For safety, you should have a detector on each level of your home and in every bedroom. If your detection devices are over 10 years old, or you’re concerned whether there’s an adequate number placed in the correct locations, hiring a professional handyman to tackle installation and maintenance can provide peace of mind.
For expert help taking care of critical spring home maintenance tasks, contact the Cincinnati area’s comfort pros at Apollo Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
With spring’s endless to-do list, it’s easy to get bogged down with all you need to get done around your home. One way to limit the stress of your to-do list is by hiring a handyman to handle some of the tasks for you. From cleaning out gutters to installing a new exterior light fixture or helping with interior repairs, a handyman can help you get your home in top shape.
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