Air conditioning is not a luxury anymore, at least not in Florida. Living without air conditioning is brutal, especially during the summer months. The winter months, sans air conditioning, is no picnic either, so what do you do, besides sweat, when the air conditioner stops working, and the air inside the house is stifling?
Don't assume the worst.
If your air conditioner is less than ten or 15 years old when it breaks down, there's a good chance that the problem is minor and repairable. A DIYer can address the issue if they know where to begin. Assess the situation by addressing the most straightforward issue first. For instance, the air filters might need replacing if the air conditioner blows warm air rather than cold.
A filter's job is to remove impurities from the air to improve air quality. As air flows, it moves the debris, dust, and bacteria from indoor air and deposits them in the filter. Once the filter is clogged, airflow stops. Replace air filters and follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning permanent filters that come with some systems. Even a partially clogged air filter can cause the air conditioner to work harder, creating wear and tear that could shorten its life span. Clean or replace air filters every three months to keep the air conditioner from overworking and to help extend its lifespan.
Check the Thermostat
The thermostat sets the indoor temperature, informing the air conditioner when to turn on and off. If the air inside feels warmer or colder than the thermostat reads, the thermostat may be why the air conditioner isn't working correctly. By the same token, If the air conditioner stops turning on as programmed or won't turn off, the thermostat might be the culprit.
Take notice if the room temperature and the thermostat setting match. If they don't, there's a problem. The thermostat may have broken, or it could simply need new batteries. Check and replace the batteries first before calling in a professional.
If switching out the batteries doesn't fix the problem, set the thermostat lower than usual, at least five degrees lower than you normally would. Listen to see if the air conditioner clicks on. Call a professional technician If it doesn't click on or if, after a few minutes, the five-degree difference in the temperature setting doesn't match how cold the room registers on the thermostat.
Take a walk around the outside unit
The outside air conditioner unit/condenser houses the air compressor, a fan, and condenser coils, etc. One or all these parts may need replacing if the air conditioner isn't working. Do not attempt to disassemble the cover around the unit, which could be dangerous. Leave that to a professional. However, the inside of the unit is visible from the outside. Notice if the fan is turning. If the air handler inside is turned on but not running outside, there's a problem and probably not one that most homeowners can address. One of those reasons a professional may be needed to fix is fan that is not spinning is a worn-out motor.
Refrigerant is essential to an air conditioner. A cyclical process changes liquid refrigerant into a gas. The gas absorbs heat and cools it down. The refrigerant turns back into a liquid and continues a cycle of evaporation, turning heat to cool air and expelling it to the outside, so the inside of your house stays cool. A professional technician can add depleted refrigerant and determine if the refrigerant is low because there's a leak in the system. Adding refrigerants is a complicated process that should be left to a professional.
Check the Condensate Line
The condensate line drains moisture to the outside of your home. The pipe can get clogged with debris or even mold. This can cause the air conditioner to stop working. A clogged condensate line could be an easy fix or one that requires attention from a professional. Pouring bleach or white vinegar into the condensate line will cause debris and mildew to break up and drain out. However, if the line is significantly clogged, it might take more effort to use a garden house or shop-vac outside the house at the end of the drain line. The job may be outside most DIYers' wheelhouses. Please speak with a certified technician and allow them to clear out the line.
An air conditioner at the end of its lifespan can break down due to normal wear and tear. Old air conditioners work harder to create a comfortable home, creating even more, wear and tear. They’re also inefficient for conserving energy. You can try to limp an old air conditioner along, but in the long run, a new air conditioner will cause less headache and will run more efficiently for a cooler home and lighter energy bill.
Call the All-Fixed people at FPL Home Services to replace an aging air conditioner or to repair one that's stopped working. A licensed and insured technician can install a new air conditioner or assess whether the present unit is repairable. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 833-568-5140.
FPL Home Services is a subsidiary of FPL Home and an unregulated indirect subsidiary of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). FPL Home Services products and services are offered, administered, and backed by FPL Home Services, and not FPL Home or FPL. License Nos. CFC1430331, CAC1820030 and EC13007891