Frequently Asked Air Conditioning Questions
We asked our HVAC technicians for some of the most common questions homeowners ask -- oh yeah, we asked them to answer them too. Click on the questions below to reveal their answers.
In the owner's manual for your air conditioner it says, "...in addition to the maintenance you perform, your system should be inspected regularly by a properly trained technician..." In the industry, "regularly" means once a year. Most HVAC companies offer this annual dealer maintenance, Any Hour Services offers a air conditioner tune-up.
Each home is a little different. You only need to change the filter when it's too dirty to let air through. Pets, dirt, and dust can cause you to need to replace your filter more often. If you are unsure how often to replace your filter, take it out and hold it up to the light. If you are not seeing light through it, you are not getting enough air through it.
At a minimum replace your filter at the beginning of a new season, during the spring and fall. When you replace it, if it is very dirty, try replacing it every 3 months.
The purpose of the filter is to keep dirt and debris from damaging the internal components of your cooling system while still allowing enough air to move through the system. A dirty filter causes more strain on the electrical components causing them to fail sooner and your energy bill to be higher than it needs to be.
Want to know more about the maintenance you should be doing to keep your air conditioner running? Learn more about 8 DIY Maintenance Tips.
Inspect your unit's distribution channels. Make sure that the fan on your unit is carrying air into the rooms or into your duct system.
If your unit turns on but doesn't cool, check your thermostat to be sure that it is set at the correct temperature. You should then check the condenser and evaporator for dirt and clogging. If too much dirt builds up, your unit may not turn on at all.
When your outdoor unit doesn't turn on, check to see if the circuit breaker has been tripped. When this happens, you can easily reset it after locating the circuit breaker panel.
There are a couple of different levels of troubleshooting. Basic troubleshooting that anyone can do if they know what to check, and advanced troubleshooting that most people are not trained to do. Be careful how much you attempt on your own, it is easy to get in over your head and do more damage than good.
We made this video to show you some easy air conditioner troubleshooting steps you can try before paying a technician to come to your home. These are the most common, preventable things our HVAC service technicians come across.
The 4 most common are lack of airflow, communication issues, failed components, and refrigerant levels.
Airflow and communication issues are the easiest for homeowners to troubleshoot themselves. We made this video to show you the 7 most common things homeowners do to cause their own air conditioner problems. If you've tried these and you still need help, we're happy to send one of our HVAC service techs to your home to diagnose and troubleshoot your air conditioner.
Ask yourself these 4 questions and then, based on your answers, make a decision.
1. How broken is it? This can range from "ok" to "it won't turn on". After you have an HVAC technician look at it they should be able to tell you if it is minor or major.
2. How old is your air conditioner?15 is the magic number, that is what they say the life expectancy is for air conditioners, give or take a few years. The closer you get to that age, take that into consideration.
3. How often is it breaking down?Frequency matters. If you have a 10 year old air conditioner that is breaking down every year, it is probably only going to get worse. But, on the other hand, if you have a 17 year old system that broke down for the first time, you probably still have more years to go.
4. How much do the repairs cost?This is where personal preference comes into play. You have to weigh the costs of repairs and how often you're having to make those repairs vs what it would cost to replace your air conditioner.
At Any Hour Services, our HVAC install department can complete an air conditioner install in a day. We stage the equipment the night before so it can be picked up early the next morning. The size of your air conditioner install will determine the size of the installation crew we send to install your system. Our goal is to complete your air conditioner install in 1 day.
According to energy.gov, 6% of the electricity we generate goes to cooling our homes, costing consumers $29 billion a year. So the best way to reduce your cooling bill is to use your AC less, here are a few suggestions.
1. Adjust your thermostat up a few degrees. Most of us use our air conditioners to beat the heat but it would cost a little less if, maybe, we used them to take the edge off. The feeling of hot and cold is all relative. So in the hottest parts of the summer when it's 100 outside, maybe you don't need to cool the house to 68 to feel comfortable, maybe 75 or 80 would feel a lot cooler than 100 but cost less.
2. During the hottest parts of the day, cover the windows that the sun is shining into. Sometimes our windows can act as a magnifying glass and superheat those rooms. Draw the shades or find something to block those rays.
3. Turn on ceiling fans. Turning your ceiling fans on can create a breeze that evaporates the moisture from our skin and gives you a cool feeling. It doesn't really change the temperature in the room but it feels like it does.
4. Don't add a lot of humidity into the room. Humid air retains heat more than dry air. If you have a whole home humidifier, turn it off for the summer. If you have a room humidifier or defuser, use it less.
5. Upgrade to a high-efficiency air conditioner. Once it's time to replace your air conditioner, ask the technician that meets with you show you more energy efficient models. They cost a little more upfront but same you more on your electric bill. You may even qualify for rebates and incentives from the manufacturer or the utility company.
Depends on whether you are trying to save money or get comfortable. If you are trying to save money, the higher you set it the less your air conditioner will run, therefore saving you more money. If you are trying to be comfortable, personal preference applies. If you're looking for a happy medium, find what is comfortable and then adjust it up a couple of degrees.
If you have the fan setting on your thermostat set to "on" or "run", causing it to run all the time, it may just be that the compressor has cycled off and there is nothing wrong. You can try adjusting the thermostat down and see if the air conditioner kicks on.
The other option is that something is not broken and it needs to be diagnosed to figure out what is causing the problem. It could be a lot of different things; frozen coils, refrigerant, bad compressor, a capacitor that has gone out, etc.
Before you pay a company to come to look at it, try these simple troubleshooting steps. You might be causing your own problem and not even realize it.
It depends. It is possible your problem is a lack of insulation in the attic or uninsulated windows. It is also possible that your air conditioner is undersized or the ductwork in your home is undersized. You could also need more return air vents.
If you suspect the issue is with your air conditioner, the first step would be to have a technician come to your home and make sure everything is sized properly, the air conditioner and the ductwork. They will also check things like the refrigerant levels to make sure they are not too low or too high.
If the problem is with the ductwork, it can be fixed. Many times it is messy and requires a lot of drywall patching and repainting. It may be that the best solution is a new ductless technology called a mini-split system. One of our HVAC supervisors can show you what options are available and the price of each option. This visit is free and there is no obligation to buy.
It only cost $59 to get a certified HVAC technician to your home to diagnose and troubleshoot your air conditioner. The will find out why your air conditioner is not working and then give you options to repair it. Below you'll find an internet special for $30 OFF.
They will arrive in a truck stocked with all the parts and tools to start your repair while still at your home, unless the situation is unusual. Once you approve the work, your HVAC technician will begin. Most of the time your air conditioner repair is completed the same day we arrive.
The magic of how your air conditioner works are the refrigerant and the coils inside and outside of the home that remove heat and moisture from the air. Airflow is key in the whole process. We made this video to explain the basics of how an air conditioner works. Our hope is that with a little information and understanding you will be able to make better-informed decisions when it comes to repairing and replacing your air conditioner when the time arrives.
Yes. There are a few things you can and should be doing to make sure your air conditioner is ready to do its job. We made this video that shows you 8 simple air conditioner maintenance tips.
Got a question?
or see above for questions others have already asked.
Helpful HVAC Tips
Sign up for early access to monthly promotions!
"I'm retired Army. The house was built in 1950 and a lot of improvements have needed to be done. I have never met a group of finer young people that were super qualified in every area -- whether it was heating, plumbing, electrical or whatever -- they would be the type of team that I would want to put together myself if I were running a company, and I have nothing but praise. I know I can trust their work."
"...I have nothing but praise. I know I can trust their work."