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What to Check Before You Call the Professionals

Sometimes what appears to be a big problem is really a simple fix. The car that won’t start turns out to be only a loose battery cable. The vacuum has no suction. But it works great after the hose is cleared.

It’s always stressful when our air conditioning goes out. And we’re thankful for professional HVAC technicians who can help us keep our cool. Yet before we call the pros, there is some trouble shooting we can do on our own.

If your system doesn’t seem to be cooling properly, check for open doors and windows. I know. This sounds like advice from Captain Obvious. Yet you’d be surprised how an even slightly open window can impact your cooling. For refrigerated air conditioning systems, it’s important that all doors and windows be closed. This is because of the way heat and moisture are extracted in the system. The opposite is true in an evaporative air system. Also known as a “swamp cooler”, these systems rely on outside air flow and require a window to be slightly open.

Check for obstructions to your air flow. Are your interior vents open? If so, are they blocked by curtains or furniture? When I lived in Arizona, where air conditioning is your best friend for 7 months out of the year, I felt like the home I’d just purchased wasn’t cooling down enough. Being new to the place, I hadn’t looked to see where the vents were. Turns out a couple of them were blowing cold air right into the back of the curtains. The cool air wasn’t making it to the room.

Also, check the outside unit of your central air conditioner. Make sure there is nothing blocking air flow around the unit. Clear away all weeds, debris, and trash. Now that it’s spring, it’s a good idea to take a leaf blower and blow all the dirt out and away. Since these units are often on the side of homes, sometimes there are flower beds on either side. Make sure you have at least several feet of clearance around the unit and that no plants or shrubs impede the air flow.

If your air conditioning system fails to power up, check fuses and breaker switches. If your breaker flips on a frequent basis, your wiring may not be adequate for the size system you have.

Check your filters. Dirty filters inhibit air flow. Worse, if not changed, clogged filters allow dirt to accumulate on the coils. It also makes your compressor and fans work harder, shortening their life.

Some problems are to be trusted to professionals. Low refrigerant levels should be handled by an expert technician. If your coolant levels are too low, either your system was improperly charged on installation or you have a leak in your system. If you suspect low coolant, simply adding more is a waste of time and material without knowing if a leak exists. A trained technician will match the proper coolant level with the manufacturer’s specifications.

The professionals at Sinclair are busy getting air conditioning systems ready for summer. Give them a call today to schedule your pre-season check-up. We’ll make sure your system is optimized, clean and ready for the hot weather! 806-749-COOL (2665)