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How to Inspect Your A/C for Potential Issues (Now is a Great Time!)

Published on: January 30, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTE: . Our company is located in British Columbia, Canada. If you are reading this article in another location, we hope you enjoy the information, but unfortunately we cannot service you. 

You may be thinking we’re crazy for suggesting you check your air conditioning in winter, but in reality it’s not that bad of an idea. We get a lot of calls regarding air conditioners that break down on the hottest days of summer, and a lot of the problems that arise from them could have easily been avoided in the first place.

We want our customers to stay cool when it’s hot out, and stay warm when it’s freezing out. Following these DIY inspection tips for your A/C even when and if it’s snowing out can help you detect potential problems that may arise, and even give yourself something to do if you’re snowed in.

Step 1: Check the Air Filter

The air filter is the part of an air conditioner that can suffocate it when it gets dirty. The dirt layers that can build up if left uncleaned will limit the amount of air that your A/C unit breathes in. Without adequate airflow, there are a whole bunch of problems that can arise and eventually lead to a total system failure.

If this sounds like the state of your air filter, clean it up yourself (you can use a vacuum cleaner) or replace it if needed. Don’t forget to place the filter back correctly when you’re finished.

Step 2: Investigate the Thermostat’s Settings

It’s very easy to forget that a thermostat on an A/C unit can typically be switched from ‘Heat’ to ‘Cool’ quite easily. Be sure to switch to this setting once you’re ready to test the airflow quality, power, and sounds of your air conditioner before turning it onto full blast for the hotter season. (More on testing later.)

If your thermostat has to be set to exact degrees rather than ‘Heat’ or ‘Cold’, then set it to the typical temperature in summer which is 25 degrees Celsius (78 degrees Fahrenheit). That way you won’t be putting too much pressure on your unit when you’re trying to cool off. Turning the thermostat down full blast will only cause more problems as opposed to keeping you cool.

Step 3: Check the Outdoor Unit (If Applicable)

This step will depend on where you live and what kind of air conditioner you own. For this example, we’re going to use central A/C which does often require an outdoor unit and/or heat pump to function properly. It’s easy to forget that you have to take care of this part of your air conditioning even in winter, because of the weather. Ice can form on the outside and when it melts, make its way into the interior of the unit. So you need to ensure that if this unit isn’t already being protected, you get rid of the ice covering the outside.

Other objects that can interfere with the efficiency of an outdoor unit are basically any outside things that can intrude on its space. There needs to be about 3 feet of space surrounding your unit outside to ensure no debris interferes with the air quality your unit produces. Make sure there are no objects such as branches hanging out within that perimeter, and brush off all the dirt on the unit’s exterior. If there’s a thicker layer of dirt, you may need to call a professional technician over for a deep cleaning.

Step 4: Inspect the Circuit Breaker

Sometimes the circuit breaker is the reason why an air conditioner won’t run or switch on. This fix is a simple one. Find your home’s main electrical panel (usually kept in the basement). Look for any circuit breakers that are not in the On position. Do you have any breakers that are clearly labeled? If so, look for one that specifically reads A/C or air conditioner. If the A/C’s circuit breakers have tripped, then push that breaker firmly into the On position. Try running your air conditioner again once that’s finished.

If for any reason the circuit breakers trip again upon switching your A/C on however, don’t try to switch the circuit breaks on again. This is a sign of an electrical problem that only your HVAC technician should look into and fix. Call yours if you make this discovery.

Step 5: Test, test, test

It’s a good idea to give your air conditioner a test run before you use it for the summer months. Once it’s switched on, walk your way through the entire house. Why? Because you’re going to be checking for any spots where the following is taking place:

  • All supply air vents—both the return and supply kinds—are not being blocked or covered. Not even in unused rooms.
  • No funny noises are coming from your A/C while it’s running, even when you’re not in the same room.
  • The circuit breakers aren’t being tripped as soon as the A/C is switched on (see our previous point).

It’s also a good idea to run some tests after the aforementioned tasks, such as cleaning the filter, have taken place. This will ensure the test is a success and your air conditioner is ready to go when you need it!

Still having problems?

If you’ve performed all of these tasks in our article but then discover you still have an underlying problem with your air conditioner, it could be one of the following:

  • Electrical problems
  • Dirty or clogged air condenser
  • No or minimal coolant in the unit
  • Compressor problems

For all of these problems and more, give us a call. At Rep-Air Heating And Cooling we provide our customers with many options that will best suit your needs from heating and cooling to refrigeration. Contact us today for your complimentary quote: 1-778-728-1476 or and don’t forget to take a look at our website: Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for free giveaways!

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