Central air conditioning is the key to comfort in your home. In the late days of summer, efficient central air conditioning can mean the difference between a poor, muggy environment and a healthy, dry one. When your central air conditioning unit stops blowing air, troubleshoot for basic problems but know when to bring in the professionals.
Self central air troubleshooting can be done in a few easy steps. If your central air conditioning unit does not work at all, check the fuses and circuit breakers. The circuit box can be found in your garage or basement and should be labeled to show which one controls the central air conditioning unit. Turn off the circuit to the central air conditioning unit for two minutes and then flip the circuit back on.
If your central air conditioning unit is on but is not blowing air at all or the air flow seems sluggish–check this by turning on the central air conditioning unit and placing your hand over a vent to feel for air flow—then you may have some blockage in the ductwork or in the central air conditioning filter. You can check the filter by going to your furnace (fan) unit and removing the plate that protects the air filter, which is usually located near the front of the furnace. Change the air filter if it seems to be coated with pet hair or dust. Filters should be changed every month to three months.
If the air flow seems fine but the air is not cool, you may attempt to clean the cooling fins inside the central air conditioning unit. Go to the unit and rake away any grass or debris that may be constraining air flow. Remove the protective grill covering the cooling fins and vacuum or brush away any debris that may be constraining air flow. Be careful not to bend or damage the fins.
If basic troubleshooting does not solve your problem, you will need the help of a professional for advanced repairs. In a case where your central air conditioning unit does not work at all, it could be a deeper-seated electrical or motor problem within your unit.
If your central air conditioning unit is not blowing air at all or the airflow is sluggish, then a professional repair person can clear away any debris or dust that may be trapped inside your ductwork. Duct cleaning is a nasty business and should always be done by a professional.
If the air flow seems fine but the air is warm, it could be a number of issues. Dirty coils, condensation pump failure, algae in the pipes and low refrigerant can all cause these issues and should be handled by a professional. Most refrigerant requires a license to handle so it is illegal for you to attempt to replace it yourself.
Look for coupons in your local newspaper to capitalize on deals for central air conditioning service.