Summer brings to mind swimming pools, lemonade and those sweltering temperatures, and nothing feels better than beating the heat in your nice, air-conditioned house. But if your house isn’t cooling off like it should (or normally does when the AC kicks on) there may be an issue with your air conditioning or HVAC unit.
We’re going to walk you through some of the steps you can take to identify if your air conditioning unit is working properly and efficiently, and what you can do about it.
Inspect Your Air Filter
The simplest step you can take to ensure your unit is working properly is inspecting your air filter. If your air filter is dirty, the unit will run continuously, but the temperature in your house won’t cool down. Changing the air filter is something anyone can do and is an affordable fix. So keep this tip in mind before calling your HVAC repair service.
Check Your Thermostat
Sometimes your problem may be as simple as replacing the batteries in the thermostat. When checking to see if this is your issue, look for a blinking battery light or symbol on the thermostat. This is an indication that the batteries need to be replaced.
Check the Air Temperature Differential
We’re going to give you the lowdown on how to check if your unit is low on refrigerant (Freon), so take notes!
When the outside temperature reaches at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit, set your thermostat to a temperature significantly below room temperature. Allow your air conditioner unit to run long enough to reach that set temperature. Once the temperature has been reached, place a refrigerator thermometer inside one of your air ducts.
After ten minutes, take note of the temperature reading. Now go find your unit’s return air duct and use the same thermometer to get the temperature inside of that duct. If the difference between the two readings is less than 14 degrees, your unit may be low on refrigerant. If so, call a qualified HVAC repairman to inspect your air conditioning unit.
Check Your Home’s Insulation
Even if your air conditioning unit is brand spanking new, that does not necessarily mean it’s working efficiently. If your home doesn’t have adequate insulation in the walls and ceiling, your unit could be working lots of overtime and still not get your home cool and comfortable. Poor insulation means there is most likely air leakage.
Think of it like this, poor insulation means you’re paying extra money each month to air condition the outdoors. Do your research and call a qualified person to inspect your home’s insulation.
Check for Excessive Sunlight
Any windows that receive direct sunlight are extra sources of heat warming the inside of your house. What this means is that your air conditioning unit isn’t working properly and efficiently, and is going to put in more work to get the same job done.
Check your windows to see which ones receive the most direct sunlight throughout the day and then install blinds and/or shades to those windows to block the sunlight’s heat from getting inside.
When it’s Time to Call a Professional
If all the above tips check out, your problem may lie elsewhere and if that’s the case, it may be time for you to call a local HVAC repair service to diagnose your air conditioner’s problem. There is typically a service call charge but some companies may waive this fee if an issue with your unit is found and they perform the additional work.