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Serving the Lubbock Community

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.