How To Diagnose Common Home Air Conditioning Problems

You rely on the air conditioning in your home to keep you cool and comfortable all summer long, but what happens if the AC stops working? Air conditioners rarely choose the best times to stop running – and that could mean suffering through a sweltering summer day with nothing but a fan and a tray of ice cubes.

If you want to keep your cool this summer, having some basic AC troubleshooting skills can help a lot. This DIY approach to air conditioner repair may not be a substitute for professional service, but it can help you point the tech in the right direction, so you can start enjoying a cool and comfortable home more quickly.

Home air conditioning units are complicated pieces of machinery, with interconnected parts and a wide variety of potential problems. When your AC stops working, it is important to work through the potential causes one by one. Here are some of the most common sources of home air conditioning problems.


Squealing Noises

It is normal for your HVAC unit to make some noise, but unusual sounds should always be cause for concern. If your AC unit is making a squealing sound, the problem is most likely a belt.

In some cases, the squealing noise means the belt has simply slipped out of alignment, and you may be able to fix it on your own. In other cases, however, the belt will need to be replaced – and that means it is time to call in the pros.


A Grinding Noise

Your AC unit should not produce a grinding sound – if it does, it is time to put your sleuthing skills to work. A grinding noise typically means there are issues with the bearings, and fixing it is definitely not a DIY repair.

If you notice a popping sound coming from the unit, you could have an issue with the ductwork, most likely a loose piece of metal. A rattling noise, on the other hand, may indicate that the panel covers have come loose, and all you need to fix it is a screwdriver.


The Fan is Not Running

Even when your AC unit is idling, you should hear a faint noise coming from the fan. If the fan is not working, start by checking the external parts of the HVAC system.

Find the reset button on the fan, then press it to restart the unit. If the fan still does not come on, turn the unit off completely, then try to spin the fan blades by hand. You should encounter some resistance – if the blades spin without resistance, you could have a problem with the capacitor – and you will need professional help to fix the issue.


The AC Unit Cycles On and Off

It is normal for the air conditioning unit in your home to go on and off, but constant cycling is a sign of trouble. If your AC is constantly turning off and back on, first check the condenser unit. A blocked or dirty condenser will cause the issue, so clean the unit thoroughly and see if the problem has been resolved.

If the AC unit still cycles on and off, the evaporator could be the problem. Once again, a buildup of dirt or a blockage could be to blame, so check for these issues and monitor the air conditioner’s function.

When the summer heat really gets going, you do not want to live without your air conditioner. If your AC does stop working, knowing how to troubleshoot and resolve simple issues can help you keep your cool now matter how high the mercury rises.

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