Five air conditioner troubleshooting tips that every homeowner should know

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Five air conditioner troubleshooting tips that every homeowner should know

Words by Staff Writer

From the stinking hot 40 degree days we experienced in March to rugging up in April, the old air conditioner has been getting a work out these last couple of months and it’s not even winter!

Whatever brand you rely on − from Samsung, Rinnai and Fujitsu systems to Toshiba AC units − heating and cooling systems can sometimes act up, leaving you feeling frustrated, uncomfortable and a bit like Goldilocks porridge- too hot or too cold.

Our friends at Cyber Air Conditioning have you sorted to tackle the whirls of winter and prepare you to beat the summer heat with these five troubleshooting tips.

Check the Thermostat

Wielding all of the power in the world, this tiny temperature ticker can be the root of all problems. First things first, double-check that your thermostat is set to the correct temperature. It might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how often this gets overlooked.

Make sure it’s at a level that matches your comfort preferences. If it’s set too high or too low, your AC might not kick in when you need it to. The recommended temperature setting for summer is 23-24°C, and 18-20°C during winter, ensuring you’re not overworking the little guy. AC still isn’t cooperating? It might be time to swap out the batteries. Yes, even thermostats need a little juice to function correctly. Pop open the cover and replace the batteries if they’re dead – it’s a quick fix that could save you from sweating bullets or shivering later on.

Clean or Replace Filters

The unsung workhorse of your air conditioning system, filters work hard to keep the quality of your air clean and fresh and they need a little TLC too. If they’re neglected they can become the Achilles’ heel of your AC unit.   

Dirty air filters can restrict airflow, causing your AC to work harder than necessary and driving up your energy bills. Plus, they can’t effectively trap dust, pollen and other allergens, which means you’re breathing in all sorts of nasties that could affect your indoor air quality and even trigger allergies. They do a lot for us so the least we can do is take a few minutes every month to inspect them. If they’re caked with dust and debris it’s time to clean or replace. Most filters are easy to remove and can be either vacuumed or rinsed with water. If they’re beyond salvaging, don’t hesitate to swap them out for new ones – your lungs and your wallet will thank you.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here.

Inspect Air Ducts and Vents

Ductwork and vents – this is something that often gets overlooked if you’ve got a ducted air conditioning system. These unsung heroes play a crucial role in distributing cool or warm air throughout your home, but if they’re not in good shape, they could be sabotaging your system’s efficiency. First things first, take a stroll around your home and check all your vents. Make sure they’re open and unobstructed by furniture or curtains. Blocked vents can restrict airflow, making it harder for your AC to heat or cool your home effectively. 

Next up, it’s time to inspect your ductwork. Look for any signs of leaks, such as visible gaps or tears. Even small leaks can lead to significant energy losses and higher utility bills. If you spot any issues, seal them up with duct tape or call in a professional for repairs. Finally, consider investing in a duct cleaning if it’s been a while since your last one. Dust, dirt and even mould can accumulate in your ducts over time, reducing airflow and compromising your indoor air quality.

Examine the Outdoor Unit

Out of sight, out of mind but one of the most crucial factors of your air conditioning system: the outdoor unit. This powerhouse is responsible for dissipating the air extracted from your home, ensuring that your indoor space stays comfy. However, like any other component of your air conditioning system, it requires some TLC to perform optimally.

First off, take a quick look around the outdoor unit to ensure it’s free of debris and vegetation. Leaves, twigs and other outdoor clutter can obstruct airflow, causing your AC to work harder and less efficiently. Next, turn your focus to the condenser coils. Over time, these coils can accumulate dirt and grime, hindering heat transfer and reducing your system’s efficiency. Give them a good clean with a hose or soft brush to keep them in top shape. Lastly, check the clearance around the outdoor unit. Ensure there’s at least 70cm (2ft) of space around it to allow for proper airflow. Anything obstructing the unit can impede its performance and lead to overheating.

Check for Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant plays a crucial role in the cooling process of your air conditioning system, so it’s essential to ensure there are no leaks compromising its efficiency. Here are some tell-tale signs to look out for:

  • Signs of a refrigerant leak may include a decrease in cooling performance, hissing sounds near the indoor unit, or ice buildup on the evaporator coils.
  • To check for leaks, start by inspecting the refrigerant lines for any visible signs of damage or corrosion. Look for oily residues, which could indicate a leak.
  • Use a refrigerant leak detector to pinpoint any leaks that may not be visible to the naked eye. These detectors are available at most hardware stores and can help identify leaks quickly and accurately.
  • If you suspect a refrigerant leak, it’s essential to address it promptly. Ignoring a leak can lead to decreased cooling efficiency, increased energy bills and potential damage to your AC system.
  • Contact a qualified HVAC technician to repair the leak and recharge the refrigerant levels if necessary. Attempting to handle refrigerant leaks without proper training and equipment can be hazardous and may result in further damage to your system.

By following these troubleshooting tips and incorporating them into your regular maintenance routine, you can prolong the life of your air conditioning system, improve energy efficiency and enjoy a consistently comfortable indoor environment for years to come.

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This story was made in partnership with Cyber Air Conditioning.