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Solving Common Air Conditioning Repair Problems Yourself


Trust me, I’m never insulted when people would rather ask me about an air conditioning repair problem rather than call me to service one. I understand home repair budgets are sometimes tight and you’d rather try to figure out the problem before calling me. So, I just want to take some time to explain potential problems with central air conditioning to help you better understand your HVAC and when you have a serious air conditioning repair problem. First, remember to always refer to the owner’s manual and follow the guidelines.

Let’s start with no cool air. Some units with this problem may need cleaning. When completing this air conditioning repair, turn off the power to the unit. Typically, you’ll need to shut of the unit’s 240-volt circuit at the electrical panel and the panel next to the outdoor compressor.

Remove any debris away from the condenser (located outside). You don’t want anything blocking the airflow.

Unscrew the protective and top cover grilles from the compressor. Be careful if the fan is attached to the grille. You can unknowingly pull wires loose when removing it.

Use a (soft) brush to clean the debris from the fins

Use a vacuum—with a brush attachment—to vacuum the fins

Inside the unit, place plastic covering over the motor and wiring to protect them from getting wet (a plastic garbage bag works too). You can use a spray bottle or hose with a sprayer attached to it.

Use the hose to remove any pesky dirt and debris that wasn’t removed during the first cleaning

Remove the plastic sheeting then reassemble

To make sure the unit works properly, turn the thermostat to the OFF position.

Reset the power (the reverse of what you did when you disconnected the power)

Wait five minutes

Set the thermostat to the ON position

The unit should run for about three minutes before you check the two pipes which connect the condenser unit to the handler. Sometimes the pipes are covered by insulation. Just need to slide the insulation back to check the pipes. One of the pipes should feel cool and the other warm.

If this doesn’t work, call me. You probably did everything right. The refrigerant may require recharging.

Another common air conditioning repair occurs when a room’s temperature quickly fluctuates from being too hot to too cold. Typically, this happens when the pump isn’t cycling properly. With this air conditioning repair, you just need to adjust the thermostat.

If you have a mercury switch thermostat, use a level to make sure it’s mounted on the wall properly. You don’t have to do with a digital electronic thermostat.  

Remove the thermostat cover

Find the small heat anticipator adjustment lever (this is the lever close to the calibrated scale, not the heat temperature one). Sometimes, the manufacture mark’s it “longer.”

Place the lever one mark closer to the longer calibration setting if the unit frequently goes off and on. Move the lever one mark away if the room unit makes the temperature drop too high or low before shutting off or coming back on.

Wait (this is the frustrating part) several hours. The thermostat needs to stabilize to the new temperature setting. You may need to adjust it again. However, if it doesn’t work, contact Sinclair. You may need a new thermostat.

Even if you have your central air conditioning unit checked every year, you can have an air condition repair problem. Don’t panic. Some of the problems are easy to fix yourself like when there room temperature keeps changing without damaging your home maintenance budget.


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Residential A/Cs are my sworn enemy sometimes. Thanks for putting this together, I think this is a great resource to link to to save technicians time and reduce service costs to home owners. I do feel concerned about the homeowner not powering down the unit first.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 14, 2013 9:15 AM by
If it all goes well, temperature can be more easy to manipulate.
Posted @ Sunday, August 25, 2013 12:17 PM by
thanks for sharing! Air conditioning installation, like any other kind of home or commercial building repair, upgrade or retrofit, is a job that is best done when it's done right. An air conditioning installation that is performed skillfully and correctly will ensure that the system works as it's designed and will last as long as possible with minimal ongoing maintenance costs and no surprise repairs.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 28, 2013 4:42 AM by Brenda Ball
Great point and something I forgot to mention! The homeowner definitely needs to power down the unit first.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 28, 2013 2:15 PM by Daniel Sinclair
Very well written article. 
Today most of the people ignore the maintenance of their HVAC which results in decreased efficiency and life time or may be some times a complete failure. 
Really a great piece of work done in order to explain the installation, maintenance and repair methods. 
Would love to hear more from you.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 28, 2013 6:50 PM by Alex willson
GREAT ! You convey the impression as if you have an implausible knowledge on it and its your gratefulness for giving out and imparting your knowledge and blog with others. 
As i am new in this profession so these tips would be great help for me. 
would love to hear more from you
Posted @ Thursday, September 05, 2013 1:53 PM by MyersCruz
Good thoughts. Nothing makes me feel worse than having to charge a client for something simple they could've done themselves. Teach a man to fish!
Posted @ Friday, November 22, 2013 8:41 AM by Steve
thanks for sharing awesome tips for the home makers! this will really help them save some extra bucks
Posted @ Tuesday, February 11, 2014 6:59 AM by emergency plumber Adelaide
Nice post. I rarely recommend DIY repairs but the tips you provided make it pretty straightforward and most importantly, simple. Thanks!
Posted @ Tuesday, February 25, 2014 12:18 PM by Rachel
That was a great post.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 25, 2014 1:10 PM by Air conditioning repair phoenix
These are the common problem that can be solve easily.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:47 AM by A/c repair phoenix
Comments have been closed for this article.