You can always rely on Grasshopper Heating & Cooling for AC repair in the Clifton Park area. But not every air conditioner problem requires a professional. If you like an easy fix, you’ll be glad to hear there are ways to get your AC running again without paying a contractor. These are some steps to fix an AC yourself, or at least get it working so your home isn’t hot and humid.

When Your AC Isn’t Cooling

If your air conditioner is running, but the air blowing from the vents isn’t cool, you can assess the reason why and even correct the issue. Here is how:

  • Check the Thermostat: Is the thermostat set to the correct temperature? If your home is warm and the setting is higher than you’d expect, try lowering it. Also, check that the thermostat is set to “On” (and switch it on if necessary). If the system doesn’t respond to a change in settings or the screen doesn’t light up, change the batteries. The AC should turn on and start blowing cool air.
  • Check the Air Filter: If the air filter is clogged, airflow will be restricted and your home may feel warmer than it should. The filter should be checked every month. Replace it whenever it looks dirty or clogged. Check the sticker on the unit or measure the opening to determine the proper-sized filter to install.
  • Clean the Condensate Drain: The condensate drain is part of a system that removes moisture from the air, so your AC can control the humidity level. To check it, power down your AC at the thermostat. Find the outdoor drain line near the condenser unit. Then locate the indoor access point where you can remove the cap and check for a clog.

The line can be cleaned by adding a ¼ cup of distilled white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or hot water with dish soap. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then pour water into the drain line to flush out the clog. Check if water is exiting the outdoor drain line to determine if the pipe is cleared.

  • Look for a Frozen Evaporator Coil: Restricted airflow can cause the evaporator coil to get too cold, allowing ice to form. The first place to look if the coil has frost or ice is the filter. A dirty filter can cause low airflow and frozen coils. If changing the filter doesn’t solve the problem, the unit may be low on refrigerant and require AC repair to fix a leak.

To check the coil, turn off the system at the thermostat and remove the front cover of the air handler. You should see the coils and if there’s ice on them. If so, set the thermostat to “Fan” mode, so warmer air can pass through the coils and melt the ice. Once the ice is gone, return the thermostat to the “Cool” setting. If the AC works as usual, reinstall the cover.

When Your AC Isn’t Running

It’s frustrating to have an air conditioner that won’t turn on. But this doesn’t mean it has died or needs major repairs. Before you call your local HVAC contractor:

  • Check the Circuit Breaker: When the AC shuts off or won’t turn on, see if lights and other devices on the same circuit also don’t work (the unit is most likely on its own circuit). In any case, check the electrical panel and whether the AC circuit breaker tripped. Resetting the breaker should get the unit to turn on again. Otherwise, the circuit may be overloaded or you need an electrician to find and address a hidden wiring or other electrical problem.
  • Clean the Outdoor Unit: Flip the AC switch to the “Off” position and do the same with the circuit breaker. Remove the cover above the fan blades and pull out any leaves, twigs, grass, or nesting materials you see. Lift out the fan and set it down so any wires aren’t damaged. Carefully clean the condenser fins with a garden hose set at light pressure. Wipe down interior surfaces with a damp cloth.

Once the unit is clean, allow it to dry off. Replace any components you removed and reassemble the fan and grill. You can now turn the system back on.

  • Check the AC’s Electrical Panel: A conduit runs from your home to the condenser unit’s electrical access panel. With the power off, unscrew the panel and check for dirt buildups or damage, such as frayed or broken wires, torn insulation, or loose connectors. Wipe off any dirt if necessary. If you’re comfortable doing some work with electricity, you can proceed with these minor AC repairs:
  • Replace the Capacitor: The capacitor stores and releases electricity to help the motors run. Discharge the capacitor before replacing it. Move each wire using a pair of pliers from the old part to the new capacitor and secure it tightly.
  • Replace the Contactor: This relay switch converts the thermostat’s low-voltage power to 220 volts for the compressor and condenser to run. A worn contactor can cause the system to fail. To replace it, unscrew the old contactor, remove its wires, attach them to the new part, and secure the contactor into its fitting.
  • Check the Cartridge Fuses: The fuses are located in the disconnect blocks and can blow, preventing your AC from running. Once you locate the fuses, use an ohm meter at the lowest setting and touch it to each fuse’s red and black leads. A number should appear on the readout. If it’s zero, negative, or infinite, replace the fuse and turn on the power. Call a tech if it blows again.

If these DIY AC repairs don’t get your system running again, or you run into any issues in the process, call your local HVAC professional. They have the skills, tools, and equipment to test for common issues and fix more complex problems.

Call Grasshopper for AC Repair

An AC that won’t turn on or blow cool air, makes loud noises, releases foul odors, or doesn’t stop running are reasons to call Grasshopper. Our NATE-certified professionals will promptly evaluate the unit. They have the tools and parts to get your AC running again in no time. You can reach us 24/7 for emergency service. To request assistance, call (518) 240-9467 now.

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