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Atlantic Air Systems Blog

Our Helpful AC Troubleshooting Checklist


When something is really wrong with your air conditioner, it’s critical to get repairs done as promptly as possible. This prevents a small problem from worsening, avoids the increased electric bills that struggling air conditioners often cause, and helps maximize the lifetime of the system. But sometimes, nothing serious is actually wrong.

It would be such a shame to wait in the heat for a repair tech only to find out that you could have resolved your AC issue all by yourself. How can you tell if your air conditioner actually needs repair or if you can solve your own problem? Consult this handy AC troubleshooting checklist.

Your First Stop: The Electrical Panel

If your AC isn’t running at all, head directly to the electrical panel, also called a circuit breaker panel, to see if any of the breakers have been tripped. This would mean the switch is flipped the opposite way of all the others. Maybe it just needs to be reset! 

This can happen if you’ve plugged something that draws a lot of electricity, like a vacuum, into the same circuit that powers your air conditioner. But if it happens repeatedly, there’s probably an electrical issue with the AC itself that requires AC repair in Toms River, NJ.

Your Second Stop: The Thermostat

What if an accidental elbow-bump switched your thermostat to heat or off? What if a curious child, delighted with pressing buttons, activated a vacation setting that saves energy by keeping your home’s temperature quite a bit higher while you’re away? It would take a matter of seconds for you to get it set back the way it should be. Don’t call for repairs without checking this first!

Your Third Stop: The Air Filter

Short cycling is when the AC turns on and off far too rapidly and other problems like poor distribution of the cool air or even a hot, dusty smell can be caused by a clogged air filter. Make sure you’re cleaning or replacing the filter every month during the heat of the summer. And if you think something’s wrong and you can’t tell quite what, it’s a good time to take a peek at that filter.

Your Fourth Stop: The Outdoor Unit

If anything is preventing the heat from being released from the outdoor coils, it can cause a wide variety of issues. What would prevent the heat from being released? Anything that might act as insulation or interfere with airflow around the outdoor unit. This could be caked-on dust, dirt, or lawn clippings. It could be debris like leaf litter blown against the unit. It could be plants growing too close.

Trim back any encroaching branches, shrubs, or tall grass. Rake away anything that’s piling up around the unit. Then use a gentle hose to wash away any mess on the unit itself. This will help maximize the ventilation that the unit requires to help heat dissipate and might resolve problems like ineffective performance, the air conditioner running too much, or rising electric bills.

With this handy checklist, you won’t need to wait for a technician in an overheating house unless their help is truly necessary. But if you take these steps and your problem continues, get AC repair right away.

You’re More Comfortable With Atlantic Air Systems. Schedule your appointment with us today.

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