Air Conditioner Troubleshooting Tips (Before Calling for Repairs)

If things go wrong with your cooling system, how much air conditioner troubleshooting should you attempt? 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 safety concerns and warranty restrictions, the list of DIY air conditioner troubleshooting is necessarily short.

Nevertheless, a few basic steps eliminate obvious issues and narrow down causes. Let’s review some common AC issues and air conditioner troubleshooting steps.

Common AC Problems for Cincinnati Homes

AC doesn’t start at all

First, check the thermostat and make sure the system’s in “Cooling” mode. Little buttons and levers easily shift. Also verify the desired temperature setting is at least five 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 for assistance. HVAC systems are a common source for internal power surges. If there’s an electrical problem, let a professional handle it.

AC runs but low airflow

Inspect the system air filter. Does it appear dusty and dirty? Remove the filter and install a new one. 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 obstruct air flow, as well as weeds or other vegetation.

Resist the temptation to plant things around your AC compressor. It may not be pretty, but trying to camouflage it with plants, shrubs or fencing creates new problems. If the airflow problem persists, call a pro.

AC stops and starts without cooling the whole house or AC starts and stops a lot

When HVAC equipment frequently starts and stops without fully cooling or heating the house, it’s short cycling. This occurs for many reasons.

Sometimes it’s a thermostat or electrical control problem. The thermostat might need to be moved, replaced or recalibrated.

Sometimes, the filter is so dirty, the blower motor overheats and shuts off. It overheats because it’s trying so hard to push air through the clogged filter.

In some cases, the air conditioner, heat pump or furnace is the wrong size for the house. Bigger is not always better when it comes to heating and air conditioning units.

Schedule a tune up with a trusted HVAC contractor like Apollo Home. Every tune up begins with a top to bottom inspection, which should identify the source of the short cycling.

Water around or leaking from air conditioner

If you notice water around the indoor air handler, check the condensate drain pan situated underneath. The air handler is the inside housing of your air conditioner. It contains all the indoor AC components. The AC compressor is the major outside piece.

Is standing water inside the pan? If so, you could have overflow from a clogged condensate drain line. A qualified HVAC technician must clear the clog.

Another possible cause of leakage around your AC is ice on the evaporator coil inside the air handler. This is a common result of a very dirty coil or low refrigerant level. Both situations require professional service to diagnose and fix.

Prevent the Need for Air Conditioner Troubleshooting with the Apollo Care Plan

The easiest step for homeowners in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to reduce the need for air conditioner troubleshooting is to invest in the Apollo Care Plan.

It covers seasonal tune ups of your heating and cooling equipment as well as annual plumbing and electrical system evaluations.

These annual checkups are a great opportunity to ask questions and to check your home mechanicals and systems to ensure they’ll perform as needed. Prevention is half the battle. Apollo Care Plan members also receive perks like priority scheduling, discounts and a VIP phone number.

In Conclusion:

If your air conditioning system misbehaves, try these air conditioner troubleshooting tips. If they don’t fix the problem, give Apollo Home a call or book an appointment online. Our team is available 24/7/365 for AC repair emergencies as well as regular appointments.

Apollo Home has received various awards such as “Best in Cincinnati” for Home Services, Angie’s List Super Service Award, Contractors of the Year from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and an A+ Accredited Business rating from the Better Business Bureau.

You’ll find our team of HVAC technicians in the greater Cincinnati area, such as Blue Ash, Bridgetown, Delhi, Hyde Park, Indian Hill, Oakdale and more.

We also help customers with air conditioner troubleshooting in areas like Newport, Park Hills, Crestview Hills, Lakeside Park, Fort Thomas, Union, and Latonia, Kentucky.  

Contact us today for help with your air conditioner troubleshooting problems. We love to solve heating and cooling mysteries and restore comfort to your home.

"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
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"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
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