How To Fix The Most Common Air Conditioning Repairs

How To Fix The Most Common Air Conditioning Repairs – Air conditioning is a lifesaver during hot summer months, but when it breaks down, it can be a headache. However, not all AC problems require a professional technician. With a bit of knowledge and some tools, many common AC issues can be fixed at home. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most common air conditioning repairs and how you can tackle them yourself.

Why Is My Air Conditioner Not Cooling the House?

Make Sure the Problem Isn’t the Furnace

Set your thermostat to AC mode and lower the temperature setting. If the furnace fan kicks in, the problem isn’t in the furnace. If the fan doesn’t run, try resetting the furnace circuit breaker. If the fan still won’t start, call a pro — the fixes shown here won’t work.

Next, check the outside condensing unit. The compressor (which sounds like a refrigerator) and fan should be running. If not, follow the troubleshooting and repair procedures shown here.

Caution: Turn Off the Power

Turn off the A/C and furnace breakers in the main electrical panel before pulling the outdoor disconnect or removing the condensing unit’s access panel. Then use a voltage tester on the wires coming into the contactor to make sure the power is really off.

AC Doesn’t Work? Buy Parts

The AC contactor (relay) and start/run capacitor(s) (see illustration below) fail most often and are inexpensive. So it’s a safe bet to buy and install those parts right away, especially if your air conditioning service unit is older than five years. The condenser fan motor can also fail, but it runs about $150 — hold off buying that unless you’re sure that’s the culprit.

To buy replacement parts, find the nameplate on the condensing unit (not your furnace). Jot down the make, model and serial number (or take a photo). Get the parts at an appliance store, furnace dealer or online.

1. Understanding Your Air Conditioning System

Before diving into repairs, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of how your air conditioning system works. Typically, an AC system consists of three main components: the compressor, the condenser, and the evaporator. Refrigerant circulates through these components, absorbing heat from indoors and releasing it outside.

2. Safety Precautions

Safety should always come first when working on any appliance, including your air conditioner. Make sure to disconnect the power supply to your AC unit before attempting any repairs. Additionally, wear protective gear such as gloves and safety goggles to prevent injury.

3. Common Air Conditioning Repairs and Solutions

3.1. Air Filter Replacement

One of the most common issues with air conditioners is a dirty or clogged air filter. A dirty filter restricts airflow, reducing the efficiency of your AC system and potentially causing damage to the compressor. Fortunately, replacing the air filter is a straightforward task that you can do yourself. Simply locate the air filter, remove the old one, and install a new one according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

3.2. Thermostat Problems

If your air conditioner is not cooling properly, the thermostat may be to blame. Check to see if the thermostat is set to the correct temperature and mode (cooling mode for AC). Additionally, make sure the thermostat is not obstructed by any objects and is properly calibrated. If the thermostat is malfunctioning, consider replacing it with a new one.

3.3. Refrigerant Leaks

Low refrigerant levels can cause your air conditioner to blow warm air or not cool at all. Look for signs of refrigerant leaks, such as hissing sounds or ice buildup on the refrigerant lines. If you suspect a leak, it’s best to call a professional HVAC technician to locate and repair the leak. Attempting to handle refrigerant without proper training and equipment can be dangerous and may result in further damage to your AC system.

3.4. Condenser Coil Cleaning

Over time, dirt and debris can accumulate on the condenser coils, reducing the efficiency of your air conditioner. To clean the condenser coils, first, turn off the power to the unit. Then, use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner to remove any dirt or debris from the coils. Be gentle to avoid bending or damaging the fins. Finally, use a coil cleaner to remove stubborn grime, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

3.5. Fan Problems

If the fan in your outdoor unit is not working correctly, it can cause your air conditioner to malfunction. Common fan issues include motor failure, bent blades, or debris obstructing the fan. Inspect the fan for any visible damage or obstructions and clean or replace the fan blades if necessary. If the fan motor is faulty, it may need to be replaced by a professional technician.

3.6. Electrical Issues

Electrical problems can cause your air conditioner to stop working altogether. Check for blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers in your electrical panel and replace or reset them as needed. Additionally, inspect the wiring and connections to ensure they are secure and free of damage. If you’re not comfortable working with electricity, it’s best to leave these repairs to a qualified electrician.

4. When to Call a Professional

While many air conditioning repairs can be done yourself, some issues require the expertise of a professional technician. If you’re unsure about the cause of your AC problem or don’t feel confident in your ability to fix it, it’s best to call a professional HVAC technician. Attempting complex repairs without proper training and equipment can lead to further damage and costly repairs down the line.


Learning how to fix common air conditioning repairs yourself can save you time and money while keeping your home cool and comfortable. By following the tips outlined in this guide and practicing proper safety precautions, you can tackle many AC issues with confidence. However, always remember that safety comes first, and when in doubt, it’s best to call a professional technician to ensure your air conditioner is running smoothly.

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