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How to Know If You Need An AC Repair Company

Last week I went over how to know when, and remembering to change those pesky air filters, a critical step to keeping your air conditioner running smoothly. But if your air conditioning system is already NOT running well or not cooling, how do you know when you’re in need of an AC repair contractor, or if you could fix the problem yourself? I'm glad you asked!

Common Air Conditioning Problems You Can (Sometimes) Fix

Is the problem Air Flow? To find out, first check or change the air filters (that info agin is here). If rooms seem warmer than they should and the air filter wasn't the culprit, check to ensure all the air vents are open and free from obstruction. Air flow is extremely important to the air conditioner’s operation. If your duct system is properly designed, the vents have been placed strategically to allow for the proper air flow.

Examine the outside equipment. Visually examine the area around the outside equipment (the Condenser or Heat Pump). Check for dirt in the sides of the equipment. Often grass clippings, dirt and even pollen will clog this area. If you notice a lot of debris you need an AC Tune-up. If not, just trim or move greenery that may be encroaching on the space around the unit. While you’re at it, check for ants or other insects going in or out of the unit. Also look for animal droppings. If you notice either, you REALLY need an AC Tune-up.

Observe the length of the AC cycle. A run cycle refers to the time which the system takes to cool the home. Short cycles may not adequately remove moisture from the air. Generally the system should run for longer periods of time. Try turning down the temperature more than you would ordinarily, to see if you experience improvement in the cooling run cycle.

Check Circuit Breakers. Check the home’s electrical panel for circuit breakers that have tripped or burned out. Switch them back to the on position and see if operation is restored. Tripped breakers could be caused by electrical storms but may also indicate other electrical issues with the system. If the breaker trips again or this constantly occurs, contact Service Experts.

AC Problems Requiring A NATE-certified AC Technician

Adjusting the run cycle. If you observe a short cooling cycle and can’t seem to adjust the room thermostat to change it, a technician can evaluate your system and make the necessary adjustments.

High energy bills. If your home’s energy bills are pushing upwards of $200+ or is getting up there in age, it might be advantageous to just look at the purchase of a new system. In most cases, substantial long-term energy savings and Federal Tax Credits will help offset the cost of a more energy-efficient system.

Faulty AC Wiring. Bad wiring can cause electrical problems and sporadic operation. A NATE-certified AC repair technician can correct the wiring or replace the bad wiring with new wiring.

Frozen Indoor Coil. This may have to do with poor air flow and/or air filter problems, or it could be caused by a low refrigerant charge.

Non-functional Fan. If the fan on the outside unit isn’t working the unit may overheat and trigger a safety mechanism, shutting down the system. This problem could also cause significant damage to the unit and should be corrected as soon as possible.

How to Choose Your AC Repair Company

So, maybe you just discovered you have a problem that you probably shouldn’t attempt to correct yourself. What do you do? Just follow these steps:

  1. Look online for AC repair coupons from local contractors. Angie’s List is a good source. Avoid calling people who post on sites like Craig’s List.
  2. Call 3 local AC repair companies. Of course, make sure one of them is your friendly Service Experts location
  3. Ask the phone representative about the following and compare their answers:
    1. Are your AC repair technicians NATE-certified?
    2. Do you have a written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee?
    3. Do you have (and how much is) the AC System Protection Plan (you’ll want to know this if you can take advantage of the plan to get your AC repaired for Free)?
    4. Are you available (at whatever day/time you require)?
    5. What is the diagnostic fee?

Other things you might want to inquire about; are they an ENERGY STAR Partner, how long have they been in business, and are they locally licensed to repair all makes and models of air conditioning systems? You might want to even ask friends and neighbors about companies they may have used in the past. With their experiences and everything else in mind, its a good idea to question several companies to get an idea of their service level. Additionally, you can check for bbb ratings.

Finally, just be sure to get everything in writing, especially that 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, it comes in real handy if you experience any service problems whatsoever. To contact any Service Experts location, simply visit our locations page.

Here are some basic tips for houseowners

1.Run your air conditioner for a few minutes now, before you need it. If you wait until the first hot day to discover is isn't working, you'll find yourself on a waiting list, sweltering sometimes for days before an air conditioning specialist can come to fix it.
2.Change the filters regularly. Dirty filters restrict air flow, reducing efficiency and worse case, can cause the evaporator to ice up. 3.Disposable fiberglass filters should replaced. Electrostatic or electronic filters need to be washed regularly.
4.Be sure all access panels are secure, with all the screws in place.
Clean obvious obstructions such as newspaper, leaves, etc. from around the exterior of the unit.
5.Be sure the thermostat is set in the cooling mode. Just setting the dial below room temperature will not activate the air conditioning if it is set in the heat mode.
9/15/2010 10:15:45 AM