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Knowing what to do when the need arises for air conditioner troubleshooting can save you from an immense amount of frustration. In some cases, it could even save you the cost of a maintenance visit. In others, though, it will let you know exactly when you need to call for professional help. ACs can be finicky, tricky machines, though, especially if you have no real experience with them.


To make it easier for you to understand what’s going on and when you may need a pro, we’ve created this quick troubleshooting guide to AC issues with fast tips and next steps. Here’s what you should remember.


Troubleshooting an Air Conditioner That Won’t Turn On


When your unit doesn’t switch on at all, it’s usually enough to cause a bit of panic in your family. Before you brace yourself for an evening without AC, though, first check to ensure that your thermostat is functioning. If it is, you should move on to look at your fuse or circuit breaker box. Check to make sure that the circuit containing your AC has not been tripped. If it is, reset it and see if the problem resolves itself. In either case, you should consider professional maintenance — a unit that repeatedly trips the breaker may be incorrectly installed or a poor selection for your home.


What To Do When You Have Thermostat Problems


A blank thermostat is a perplexing issue for air conditioner troubleshooting. How are you supposed to control your air conditioner without anything on the screen? In most cases, this is simply a case of dead batteries. Refer to the manufacturer’s manual for your thermostat to learn how to quickly swap the batteries in the unit before replacing it on the wall. If that still does not solve the problem, the thermostat itself may need replacing. You may be able to do this yourself, or you may need to reach out for help. Smart thermostats may require more advanced troubleshooting, so call up technical support or your local AC repair professional.


Strange Noises and Moisture Concerns: The Next Steps


Thumping, scraping, grinding, whining — none of these are sounds you want to hear emanating from your air conditioning unit, whether it’s the indoor portion or the outdoor condenser. Some noises are normal, but if you hear excessively loud and persistent noises, there’s probably something wrong with the system’s internals. You’ll need a professional’s help with that.


Likewise, if you see water pooling or dripping near your AC unit, it is likely that the condensate drain pan or pipe has become clogged and overfilled. Your usual technician can quickly remove these blockages, which can cause your unit to shut off unexpectedly.


Seeing Ice Isn’t Nice: What If Your System Freezes Up?


There are several reasons why you might see ice developing on some of the refrigerant lines around your unit. In some cases, it is simply because the environment is very humid. In other cases, it coincides with another problem — warm air blowing from your vents or no air blowing at all. Warm air or a lack of air is often because the fan that needs to circulate the air inside the unit has malfunctioned or is only partially functioning. If you see a large accumulation of ice, shut your unit off to allow it to thaw while calling for assistance.


Solutions for Mold and Mildew Around Ducts


Excessive humidity in the house can cause all sorts of issues, including the growth of mold near your AC return duct and around vent outlets. While you can use household cleaners such as bleach to sanitize these areas, it’s likely the spores have settled inside your ductwork, too. The mold will continue to reoccur until you address the root of the problem. Using a household dehumidifier, combined with a professional duct cleaning service, can improve your air quality and keep mold at bay.


High Energy Bills? It Could Be Your AC


Are your electric bills climbing every month even though your thermostat settings haven’t deviated from the norm? If your AC unit is 10-15+ years old, it may begin to lose efficiency. Longer cycle times to achieve the same temperature result in a higher bill in your mailbox every month. You can choose to use your unit less to offset this increase, or you could begin exploring a modern replacement today.


Do You Still Need Air Conditioner Troubleshooting? Get Help From a Professional

If you’ve identified a serious problem because of this guide, or if you still can’t figure out what the problem is, you can always turn to a local service provider with a proven track record. By calling in a professional with extensive education and training in refrigeration technologies, you can get to the bottom of the problem in no time. With fast help, you can go back to only worrying about which thermostat setting is the most energy efficient for your needs.