Three Inexpensive Troubleshooting Steps For An Outdoor AC Unit

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If your outdoor air conditioning unit isn't turning on when it's supposed to, there are a number of minor, easily fixable problems that could be causing it not to function. These solutions require little technical and electrical know-how, making them easy to attempt before calling for help. Before you jump to budget for enormous repair bills, perform these maintenance steps to try to get your AC back up and running quickly.

Replace the Fuses

Your fuses are safety mechanisms designed to protect the more sensitive and delicate components of your air conditioner. If something goes wrong, the fuse will blow rather than a circuit board or motor. However, fuses can sometimes blow due to heavy use — like during a summer heat wave — or simply due to old age. If your fuses haven't been replaced in a while, this is an excellent place to start troubleshooting.

Most fuses for outdoor units are located in a metal compartment on the wall near the unit. After shutting down the power to your air conditioner at the breaker for safety, open the metal compartment and remove the disconnect to replace the fuses. Fuse replacements are commonly found at hardware stores, are relatively inexpensive to buy, and can easily be popped in and out to replace.

Restart Your Thermostat

With your thermostat itself, there are multiple items to check. First, if your thermostat runs on batteries, make sure there are fresh batteries inside and that the thermostat is otherwise responsive to your commands. Second, look at your breaker to make sure nothing has tripped; if a breaker has tripped, your vents may blow air, but your outdoor unit will lack the power to turn on.

Even if it appears to be working fine, you can reset your thermostat to make sure by turning off the air conditioner at the thermostat, resetting the air conditioner's circuit breaker, and restoring power. Give it about half an hour to reset properly, then try setting your thermostat back to cool.

Clean Your Condensate Drain

Your air conditioner dehumidifies your air as well as cools it, and that moisture has to go somewhere. Typically, this moisture drains through a condensate pipe, where it drips safely outside your house. If the drain or pipe gets clogged, moisture can back up in the pipe, triggering the air conditioner's safety mechanism and causing it to shut down.

Where the condensate drain is located on each air conditioning model varies, but cleaning the drain and pipe is as simple as clearing any other clogged drain. A bleach mix may work to dissolve gunk, or you can attach a vacuum hose to the pipe's exit, fasten it with an airtight connection, then suck the gunk out of the pipe. When moisture is no longer overflowing at the drain, the safety switch will turn off, allowing the air conditioner to run again.

For more information, contact companies like Alabama Climate Control.