Having a broken AC on a hot summer day can be one of the most unfortunate things. The AC usually offers a break from the heat in the summer, but since it can get a few technical difficulties, it’s good to know how to perform some common fixes. Before you buy a new AC unit (view on Amazon), here are a few common fixes for when your AC isn’t cooling.
How to Fix AC Not Cooling
When your AC isn’t cooling, there are a lot of different issues your AC could have causing it to not cool. Here are some common fixes that will get your AC fixed.
Replace Your AC Capacitor
This is the first thing you want to consider if your AC is not blowing cold air. An air conditioner that isn’t blowing cold air is one of the first signs of a capacitor issue. This is an issue that you will probably notice immediately especially if you’re in the middle of a hot season. Try turning your system on and off again, and if the problem continues you need to call for professional help. They will narrow down if your AC not blowing cold air is a capacitor issue or some other issue.
You’re likely able to replace the AC capacitor on your own.
1. Turn off power to your AC system at the breaker panel of your home.
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2. Unscrew the side panel of the condenser unit to find the capacitor.
3. Once you find a capacitor, discharge the power of it.
4. Dismount the old capacitor, but remember how the wires are connected to it so that you know how to replace them.
5. Disconnect the wires from the three capacitor connectors that are labeled HERM, fan, and C. Take a picture of what colored wires connect to which connector so that you can reference it later.
6. Install the new capacitor by consulting the manual that you got when you bought it. If you didn’t receive a manual, you can likely just remember how you took apart the old capacitor from the unit.
7. Once you’re done, screw the side panel back on the condenser unit and try to work your AC.
Close Up Air Leaks
The first thing you should check to see if air is able to escape around the vents. It should be flowing through the grate, but if it doesn’t, it can cause condensation to build up. The condensation is dangerous on the AC unit. The easiest thing to do to fix this is to reach up and feel for any air escaping from around the sides of the AC vent.
You should also look to see if there is air escaping anywhere else around the vents. If there is, you can go to the nearest store to purchase caulk. The caulk will seal the leak and stop the condensation from building up. Caulk is really cheap and easy to use.
1. You first need to make sure the area is prepared before you use the caulk. You want to make sure the surface is clean, so get a wet, warm cloth and clean the surface.
2. Use painter’s tape to mask around areas where you don’t want the caulk to appear. This will give you a cleaner appearance once you put the caulk on the vent.
3. Now you have to cut the nozzle of the caulk open. The further you go up the nozzle, the smaller the line of caulk. If you want the caulk to be in a thin line, make sure you cut at the thinnest tip of the nozzle.
4. Apply the caulk around the vent so that you can fill all places where the air is coming out and causing condensation. Apply steady pressure on the tube and fill the gaps.
5. If you’re done, you can smooth it out. Remove the tape and wait about 24 hours for the caulk to dry. You can remove any excess caulk with water and a warm cloth.
With the caulk blocking the air from coming out of the gaps in the vents and you should no longer have any leaks. This should allow your AC to cool again.
Replace Air Filter
Air filters are very important in your AC. It’s job is to keep dust and debris out of the AC unit. So much debris can build-up on the air filter in such a short amount of time. Depending on the air quality of where you are in the dust in your house, the AC filter could fill up very fast.
If the AC filter gets clogged, the dust and dirt will start getting into the AC unit itself. This will cause a lot of wear and tear on all of the parts in it. More wear and tear means that you’ll be dealing with a breakdown in a short amount of time. Clogged filters also cause air flowing from the system to be blocked so it can’t work properly. You should change your AC filter every month during peak season but often people forget to. Here’s how you change the air filter.
1. Locate the air filter in your AC unit. This could be in a lot of different places. You might want to consult your owner’s manual to see where the air filters are located. Sometimes they’re located in the air duct. Other times it might be located elsewhere and you won’t have to open anything.
2. Turn off the power of the AC. You don’t want to risk touching any live voltage. This keeps you and your equipment safe because it won’t be running and getting debris clogged in the unit.
3. Remove the old filter. You can just slide it out of the slot that it’s in.
4. Check the condition of the filter. See if it’s clogged with dirt and dust. If it’s really clogged, you should be able to hold it up to the light and not see any light coming through. The filter should be replaced or cleaned depending on what type of you have. Replace it even if it’s been installed for less time than the manufacturer recommends because there are a lot of factors that go into impacting how fast your filter is clogged.
5. If you have a reusable filter you can clean it. It’s usually made of sturdy material with a metal frame and a special coating that makes it washable. You should check the manufacturer’s instructions for washing if you have a reusable one. You can probably just rinse it with water and let it dry. If you have a disposable filter, it usually has a cardboard frame and a paper or fiber mesh surface. These need to be replaced by the proper air filters for your unit.
6. Insert the cleaned or new filter into the slot. There’s usually an arrow on the frame that shows you which direction the air should flow. Make sure you inserted it correctly and make sure the arrow points away from the return and towards the air handler.
Now you’re done, and you should remember to do this at least a few times a year to ensure that your AC stays blowing cold air and that your air stays clean.
Fix Fan and Motor Issues
If you’re having fun or motor issues, then this could cause your AC to not be able to blow cold air. If you have dirty blades or a loose fan, this is a problem you can probably take care of yourself. If the motor is what’s wrong, then you might have some issue replacing this, so you might want to call in a professional if you don’t notice anything wrong with the blades.
To check the fan, you want to first open the AC units cabinet and find it. Once you locate it, clean away any debris that’s on the blades with a soft cloth or a handheld vacuum cleaner if some of it looks like you can be vacuumed up. You can now check if the blades are loose after you clean them. Tighten in the blades to the shaft where they are connected with a screwdriver or an allen wrench. If your air conditioner has a round vent fan, you can use a long blade screwdriver to secure it at the port of the fan to tighten the fan on the motor shaft.
If your fan has oil ports that keep it moving smoothly, you can add some drops of 20 weight non-detergent motor oil (view on Amazon) in each of the ports. You should do this at the start of each cold season, which means at the beginning of summer or spring, just to get your AC moving healthily. Don’t use all purpose oil on this because it will ruin the ports.
If you think that the fan motor is an issue and it’s not just the blades, you might want to test it with a volt-ohmeter (view on Amazon) (VOM). Disconnect the terminal wires from their terminals carefully. Then click the VOM probes to the wires. Your VOM should be sent to the RX1 scale to do this measurement. The reading should be anywhere from 3 to 30 ohms and your fan motor should be working if the reading Falls between those two numbers. If you have a reading outside of these, then you need to replace a fan motor.
To switch the fan motor, you have to remove the fan by unscrewing the screws. Carefully remove the power wires and the mounting bolts. You can usually install the new fan motor by just reversing this procedure. Beware if your AC has condenser coils. If these are blocking the fan motor you cannot remove them yourself and you’ll have to call a professional to do it for you.
You Need to Know This About Your AC
If you’re noticing problems with your AC, you need to know what’s causing the issue and if you’ll need to get the AC repaired or replaced. Having a working AC is crucial for any home, and fixing it is just one form of home improvement, but there are many more.
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Fix Your Thermostat
The thermostat could be the issue that you’re dealing with. The thermostat is what designates how cool you want your house to be and if this is broken, you won’t be feeling any cold air blowing out of the AC. Replacing a thermostat is pretty easy and you can definitely do it yourself. Each heating and air conditioning system has its own requirements for connecting to a new thermostat, but in general the process is very similar.
1. Turn off the air conditioning and furnace unit power that’s associated with your thermostat. You can do this at your breaker box by flipping off the switches that are for it. You can also just simply flip off the power switch on the unit if you don’t want to deal with the breaker box.
2. Remove the old face of the thermostat. You can usually just lift this right off with a little bit of force. This should reveal some wires
3. Take a picture of the wires to remember how they were set up. It’s nice to have a reference for which color wire should go into which receptacle for your new thermostat.
4. Disconnect all the wires from the old thermostat. You might need a small screwdriver to unscrew the screws that are holding the wires in place. You can use a screwdriver for eyeglasses since that’s usually small enough.
5. Remove the old mount. It just means unscrewing the screws that are holding it in place.
6. Once the old mount is gone you can put on the new mount. That simply requires you to put it up to the wall and screw back in the screws to hold it in place.
7. Connect the wires to your new thermostat. On the mount that you just attached, you’ll notice letters and each letter stands for different colored wire. “G”, for example, would be for Green and “R,” for example, would be for red. Insert each colored wire into its corresponding receptor. Some require screws to keep the wires in and others just require them to be pushed in until they’re locked into place.
8. Place the faceplate mount to the wall with screws.
9. Attach the new thermostat face by pressing it into place. This doesn’t usually require screws.
10. Turn power back on for your AC and furnace.
11. Configure the new thermostat. Every thermostat is different and you should follow the steps while using the router manual for this.
These are all fixes that will get your AC working again. You need to find out the source of the issue before you begin any of these fixes. If anything is too difficult, make sure you call a professional so that you don’t worsen the issue.