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Bartels Heating & Cooling Blog

Are There Any AC Repairs You Can Do Yourself?


The straightforward answer to this question is “no.” Modern central air conditioning systems are complex refrigeration devices, and to work on them requires special training as well as tools not easily available to the consumer. 

The biggest obstacle against trying to do DIY work on an AC is the difficulty in diagnosing what’s causing a malfunction in the first place. For example, if an air conditioner keeps shutting down early (short-cycling), it could be due to a miscalibrated thermostat, leaking refrigerant, a reduction in airflow, dirty condenser coils, etc. Trying to repair a problem yourself will involve too much guesswork and too much that can go wrong. 

There’s also the issue of refrigerant. Only people with special licenses can handle refrigerant and properly dispose of it. You don’t want to tamper with the refrigerant in your AC if you aren’t an expert.

However, you have non-repair ways to help your AC

Although you can’t repair a broken air conditioner, you can troubleshoot one that’s giving you problems to see if there’s a simple solution. None of these steps involve you having to open up the cabinets of your air conditioner and using tools to poke around. If you’re experiencing problems with your air conditioner, we recommend going through several of these steps before you call us for repairs. Sometimes, the trouble may really be something small you overlooked.

  • Check the circuit breakers: If you have an air conditioning system that won’t turn on at all, not even the fan, go to the electrical panel for your house and see if any of the breakers have tripped. The AC uses a large amount of electricity to power the blower and compressor, and they can occasionally trip a breaker. If you reset the breaker and it trips again a short time later, call us about repairs—there may be an electrical fault in your AC.
  • Put in a clean air filter: A dirty air filter for an air conditioner can cause numerous problems. It’s often the source of a tripped circuit breaker because it puts too much pressure on the blower fan. Clogged air filters can also cause a drop in cooling power and lead to the evaporator coil freezing over. We recommend you change the filter regularly every 1 to 3 months to avoid problems like this.
  • Examine the thermostat: Incorrect thermostat settings are often behind AC problems. This frequently occurs when you have a new type of thermostat put in. Make sure the thermostat is set to “cool” and not “fan only” mode. Sometimes “auto” mode won’t work the way you want it to. 
  • Clean and clear the outdoor condenser: The condenser is the outdoor cabinet of the air conditioner. If it’s dirty or has objects too close to it (such as plants), it won’t be able to vent heat outside, leading to the AC losing energy efficiency and eventually overheating. You can clean off the condenser with a hose on low pressure, and then clear all obstructions from it for about a foot around the cabinet. 

If you stil need help, just call us for air conditioning repair in West Chester, OH.

Call Bartels Heating & Cooling “For a Comfortable Way of Life”! We’ve Proudly Served the Hamilton, OH Area Since 1973.

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