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Air Conditioning Not Working

It’s a normal morning. You wake up as your alarm goes off, stumble out of bed and wonder why you felt a little hotter last night. Maybe it is the change in the weather. Maybe you need to adjust your blankets. These passing thoughts quickly recede to the back of your brain as you get ready and head out the door for work.

You have now worked a full day and head home. Just as you open the door, you feel it. The obnoxiously stale, hot air that is hitting you like a ton of bricks. Dang it! It wasn’t just the weather.  As you are enveloped by the sauna-like air in your once cool house, there is no denying that your air conditioner is failing.


Don’t panic.

First, head over to your thermostat. Is it working properly? Check the thermostat to be sure it is set properly, so that the air conditioner will come on. The thermostat should be set to COOL instead of HEAT or OFF. With the thermostat set in the COOL position, the temperature setting needs to be lower than the room temperature. For example, if the room temperature is 71 degrees and the thermostat is set to 72 degrees, the AC system will not come on. Additionally if you have a programmable thermostat, be sure that the program settings do not conflict with the AC’s operation.

Now head to a register. Is there air blowing out of it? If so, it is probably blowing warm air based on the temperature in your house and the sweat now dripping down your back. If not, it could be your blower.

Has anyone been in your attic, basement or where ever your HVAC system is located? As if you weren’t hot enough, you may have to climb in that dark, dingy place that it is housed. There is a power switch connected to many air conditioning systems that looks like a light switch. If someone has been near it, there is a chance they could have flipped off the power to your unit.  You can easily identify it. It looks like a light switch and will be located on or near your unit. If it is turned off, make sure it wasn’t turned of because of a safety issue. If this isn’t the case, try turning it back on.  Don’t seen an issue there? Check your panel and see if a breaker has been tripped. You may have had a power surge. Try resetting the breaker and turning it back on.

If someone has been looking at the inside of the unit and has taken the door off the gas furnace or electric air handler, there is a chance that the door was not reinstalled properly. There is typically a safety switch in the door that will not allow the unit to come on if the door is not properly closed.

How about that filter? Changed it lately or was that still at the bottom of the to do list? A clogged filter could be the source of your problem. If you have an extremely clogged and dirty AC filter, the system will not be able to move enough air to satisfy the thermostat. It could run and run causing the coil to freeze, which further restricts airflow. If your filter is dirty, change it. A dirty filter is like you trying to breath through a straw, it doesn’t work very well. You may not be able to get the system to work right away because there may be a block of ice on the evaporator coil. Insufficient airflow across your air conditioner’s evaporator coil can cause it to freeze up. Your air conditioner is designed to drop the temperature of your house by taking heat from it.  If your air conditioner is not properly blowing your inside air over the evaporator coil, then this heat exchange cannot take place and the Freon that should be removing heat from your home is not. Over time its temperature will continue to drop and your air conditioner can freeze up.

Back at the thermostat, turn unit from COOL to OFF and turn the fan from AUTO to ON, as this will help the evaporator coil to thaw. After the system thaws, turn the thermostat from OFF to COOL. If the system refreezes, you have other issues. One of those issues could be a dirty evaporator coil which is caused by a not changing your filters often enough.

Check the outside air conditioning condenser to see if there is any ice on it. If there is ice, be sure that you have checked your air conditioning filter as stated above. If you change your filters regularly, you likely have a refrigerant problem. If you have a refrigerant problem you must call a licensed AC contractor for service. If your air conditioner is frozen, turn it off. The ice needs to melt before a technician can work on it. Go ahead and call for service but explain that the unit is frozen and schedule service 3 or 4 hours after you turn the system off. Turn the system to OFF and the fan to ON to help melt the ice.

Feel like an expert now? Maybe not, but at least you have a little more knowledge as to how things work. You have a basic checklist that you can run through and possibly can get your unit cooling your home again.  Even if this doesn’t work, you have some knowledge when you call Godby and have us come out to inspect and fix your unit. Knowledge bombs for the basic homeowner.

Quick Recap:

  1. Check your thermostat.
  2. Check your register.
  3. Check your power at the unit and/or panel.
  4. Check your air filter.
  5. All else fails, call GODBY.

Rest easy, Godby HPE will have your hot box feeling comfortable in no time.




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