Have you ever had that moment of fear where you know something isn’t right with your air conditioner, but you’re almost too scared to find out? Is that HVAC service call going to cause inconvenience or about to cost money? Well let me tell you that you are not the only one! Before calling in the professionals, there are a few things you can check to save everyone the time, money, and heartache.
Is there electrical power to the house?
It sounds silly but this has happened in the past. Sometimes there is a power outage and some people think their a/c or heat will still work. Wrongo! Unless people have backup generators that will never be the case.
Is the gas meter turned on with your local utility provider?
Just this week we have had a no heat call and it turns out we get there and the customer’s gas meter is locked from the city.
Have you checked the air filter?
The airflow to your A/C or heating unit is very important and air filters should be changed regularly. If they’re not changed regularly, the restriction of air can cause the A/C unit to malfunction.
Are there batteries in the thermostat?
This is a lot more common than it should be. At least once a month we end up having to charge a service call and it turned out we only had to change the batteries. It sounds harsh but you have to do what you have to do.
Has the circuit breaker been tripped?
If the breaker to your HVAC unit has been tripped, reset the breaker. However, keep in mind that circuit breakers trip for safety reasons and if the breaker trips again, an electrician should look into the problem. Often, the breaker isn’t the problem; it’s something in the wiring pulling more electricity than it should.
Have you checked the switch on the indoor unit?
Most systems have an emergency on/off switch. Be sure to check that just in case it was accidentally switched off.
Did you check the disconnect switch to the outdoor unit?
This is the same thing as above. There should be a disconnect switch at the outdoor unit. Make sure it is plugged in or flipped on. Be very careful, as this switch controls the 240 volts of electricity to the outdoor A/C unit and it’s very dangerous.
What about the condensation pump and/or A/C drain line?
Many A/C units have a water safety switch to stop them from operating if water could leak into your home and ruin ceilings and floors. Checking for water in a pan under the unit could tell you the drain is clogged. Simply empty the pan and flush out the drain line and the unit may start operating again. You can drain a drain line with a water shop vac.
What about the safety switch in the pan under the A/C unit?
We see it happen in attics where someone was moving boxes in and out of an attic and bumped the unit or pan. This switch could be the problem. Do not bypass the safety switch or you could have a huge water mess in your home.