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7 Ways You Might be Causing Your Own AC Problems


It’s June and, here in Utah, things are warming up! This means most of us are trying to keep things indoors nice and cool. But what do you do when you turn the air conditioner on but the house doesn’t seem to be getting cool? Perhaps for some of us, our first instinct is the call an AC technician to come and check it out. But did you know there might be a simple solution to the problem that you can fix yourself? And furthermore—did you know there are problems that you might actually be causing? 

In the video above, we show you seven basic things you can check:


It’s June and, here in Utah, things are warming up! This means most of us are trying to keep things indoors nice and cool. But what do you do when you turn the air conditioner on but the house doesn’t seem to be getting cool? Perhaps for some of us, our first instinct is the call an AC technician to come and check it out. But did you know there might be a simple solution to the problem that you can fix yourself? And furthermore—did you know there are problems that you might actually be causing? 

In the video above, we show you seven basic things you can check:

Keeping the outdoor unit clear

If you have anything covering your AC unit, or if you have plants like shrubs or bushes, or even wood piles or toys stacked up against your unit, it could be preventing your air conditioner from getting proper airflow. Make sure to keep the space around and above your air conditioning unit clear! Additionally, if you’re planning a deck addition, make sure it doesn’t obstruct your AC.

AC problems - keep the outdoor unit clear

Changing your filter regularly

This one is the easiest step to forget but is one of the most important. In order for your air conditioner to function properly, it needs good airflow. A dirty filter restricts airflow and prevents it from “breathing” properly. A helpful hint is to set a reminder in your phone to check your filter every six months. If you can see light through it, your filter is good to go! If you hold it up to the light and can’t see through it, it’s time for a replacement.

AC problems - change filter regularly

Keep unused rooms open

Some people assume that when a room isn’t in use, it may save energy to close the vents and shut the door to that room so it isn’t being needlessly heated or cooled. However, HVAC systems aren’t designed to work that way. More than anything, this actually makes your system work even harder, potentially costing you more in the long run.

AC problems - keep unused rooms open

Clearing all vents

Just as we discussed, airflow is a must when it comes to your HVAC system! Check the vents in your home to be sure that all your vents are open and uncovered so air can circulate freely throughout the house.

AC problems - change filter regularly

Changing the batteries in the thermostat

Your air conditioner troubles might just be a matter of making sure the batteries on your thermostat are fresh. If your thermostat can’t communicate with your air conditioner, you definitely won’t have cold air! Check those batteries periodically to avoid problems.

AC problems - change batteries

Checking the thermostat settings

Make sure that, in the summer, your thermostat setting is changed from “Heat” to “Cool.” Otherwise, the air conditioner won’t ever get the signal to turn on.

AC problems - check thermostat settings

Making sure the programming is set correctly

You also want to make sure that your temperature programming is set to your preferences. If your thermostat is set to heat or cool to temperatures that aren’t comfortable for you, you might become frustrated, thinking the system is broken because it keeps defaulting to its preset temps.

AC problems - thermostat programming

Taking care of these basic things can possibly save you a service call! But, if you have gone through and checked each of these items and still have problems with your air conditioning, call a licensed HVAC professional to come and troubleshoot your system. 



Author: Amber Smith-Johnson
Copyright © 2018 Any Hour Services



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  VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

7 Ways You Might be Causing Your Own AC Problems

Have you ever experienced your AC not cooling or maybe you’ve had to call a repairman for some air conditioner troubleshooting help. Well, in this video we’ll talk about 7 things homeowners do to cause problems with their air conditioners...even though they might seem obvious, HVAC companies get called out all the time for an AC not cooling and find out sometimes it’s one of these...come on.

Bet you didn’t even realize you might be causing your own Air Conditioner problems. If nothing else, I hope this video can educate you just a little bit on some simple AC Troubleshooting steps you can try next time your AC not cooling.

In real estate they say the most important thing is location location location. Well when it comes to your Air Conditioner, the most important thing is air flow, air flow, air flow. You know in real estate they say the most important thing is location location location. Well when it comes to your Air Conditioner, the most important thing is air flow, air flow, air flow ….sorry, Deja vu. In the video about how an air conditioner works I said this -- (clip of the end of how an air conditioner works video). “So how do air conditioners work..well there’s a lot of moving parts and pieces, even more than we’ve got time to show in this video. But they all have to be working together in order to get cool air in your home. And if even one of them stops working, you could experience a variety of problems. The end result usually being no cold air. (in unison) and nobody wants that in the middle of the summer” We had a cool illustration that showed how everything works, whatever. If you want to watch it, just click right here.

So these 7 things that homeowners can do to cause air conditioner problems they can be broken down into 2 main categories; air flow and communication. 

I think we’ll start with air flow.

At the outdoor or condensing unit you want to make sure you uncover the unit if you covered it for the winter. If you’ve got bushes or shrubs close by, keep them trimmed back at least 12-24 inches. Keep the top cleared as well. (Star Wars animation) -- Get it? Protected air space. Ugh, nevermind.

The system pulls cooler air in over the coils to help dissipate the heat that the refrigerant just extracted from the home. Then the warm air is exhausted out of the top. If either one of those are obstructed, you just might end up with an AC not cooling.

Now inside...make sure you know where your air filter is. Depending on where you live around the country it might be at the furnace,it could be in a return air vent. Just know where yours is and be sure to check it every month, replace it as needed. I can’t stress this enough, this is one of the easiest and also one of the most neglected maintenance items there is, not because we mean to neglect it, but because it’s so freakin’ easy to forget about it. So, set a calendar event or maybe have your phone remind you to check it...Matter of fact, Hey Siri, Remind me to check my filter every month. [Siri] - OK I’ll start reminding you ...Imagine that - it worked!

I’ve also thought about setting something up where homeowners could opt in to receiving a text message every month to remind them to check their filters. Pretty cool huh? Do me a favor if this is something you would find helpful, leave a comment below and let us know.

Anyway, if you neglect to check your filter and keep it clean you could end up with your ac not cooling.

This next one surprised most people when they hear it for the first time. You know those rooms in the house that you’re not using anymore so you close the doors and the vents because you think it’s going to save energy by not heating and cooling them? Hate to burst your bubble, it could be having an opposite effect.

It creates a negative pocket of pressure that… you know what, trust me, it just doesn’t help the way that you think If you want some light reading we put a link in the description below to this 74 page report by Berkeley Laboratories that explains in excruciating detail, more than you’d ever want to know on the subject.

What about the ones that you’re accidentally covering with furniture or rugs? Whether intentional the effects are the same. So keep your supply vents and your return air vents as clear from obstructions as possible.

Category 2 - Communication. Just another way to talk about your thermostat really.

Now the thermostat is what reads the temperature in the living area of the home and then tells the air conditioner when it's getting too warm. There’s a few things that can actually interfere with that communication. When this happens you may think your air conditioner is not working. but really it just never got the message to turn on.

Here’s a few things that you want to check at the thermostat.

Now most thermostats have batteries, so see if you can pop it off the wall and change the batteries.

Make sure to change the thermostat from heat to cool. If you forget to do this, you might be trying to get colder temperatures, but if your thermostat is set to heat it will never send the message to turn the air on because it thinks it’s doing what it's supposed to.

Now the last one, double check the programming on the thermostat. Let me try to explain.

Let’s say you’ve programed your thermostat to 72 degrees, indicated by the red dotted line. But you’re most comfortable at 68 degrees, indicated by the blue dotted line.

When 72 degrees gets too warm, you go to the thermostat and manually lower it to 68. It gets cooler and you feel better. But your thermostat is designed to “time out” if you will and return to the original programming set at 72 degrees. Then you get too warm and you manually go and  adjust it to 68 degrees again...and so on and so on and so on.

It’s easy to see why someone might think their Air Conditioner isn't working properly if they’re constantly having to manually adjust the thermostat. So, if you are constantly having to adjust yours, double check the the programmed settings to make sure it’s a temperature you’re comfortable with. This will minimize the need to manually change it.

Well there you have it, the 7 things homeowners do to cause their own air conditioner problems. I hope this information saves you from having to call a technician out for help. But don’t forget your AC system has lots of moving parts and pieces. So if it wasn’t one of these it may have been something else. If you’ve tried these steps and you still find yourself with an AC not cooling and you have to get some Air Conditioner troubleshooting help, whether it’s a neighbor or an Air Conditioning Company, make sure they are a Certified HVAC technician -  NATE certified if possible. They should be able to get you up and going again pretty.

If you’ve found this video helpful and entertaining, give us a thumbs up. If there’s anything else you’d like to know about how your electrical, plumbing, heating or air conditioner systems work in your home, leave your suggestions in the comments below.

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Have a great day and thanks for watching.

Posted: May 31st, 2018 @ 12:00am by tammy