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What To Do When Your AC Breaks Down

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SINCE 1968

5 Simple Steps To Take During An HVAC Emergency

We’re hitting deep summer in the Lowcountry, with hot, muggy days and slow, sultry nights. It’s  the time of year when that air conditioning unit is the greatest blessing in your life! So if your AC breaks down, it has the potential to be a real problem.

Don’t Panic

Your AC not working can be an emergency situation, especially with the dog days of summer knocking at your door, but it could also be something relatively minor. Before you call every HVAC company in town, looking for emergency AC repair, do some preliminary troubleshooting. You may be able to resolve the problem without needing to call in a professional!

  • Check the thermostat.

    You’re probably already checking your thermostat to confirm that the house feels hotter than it should, but while you’re checking the temperature, check the settings on the thermostat as well. Someone in the household may have adjusted the temperature by accident or turned off the fan. If the thermostat screen is blank, you could just need to change the batteries. If you check the thermostat and everything appears to be as it should be, move on to the next step.

  • Check your air filters.

    Changing your air filters is one of the quickest, easiest and most inexpensive ways to keep your air conditioning working its best. This is because clean filters facilitate good airflow and keep your air conditioner clean. Unfortunately, filter changes are also one of the easiest home maintenance tasks to forget. If your AC isn’t working properly, it could be due to a clogged filter.

    Check your air returns to ensure the filters aren’t clogged with built up dust. If the filters appear dirty, go ahead and change them; this may be all it takes to get your AC working normally again! If the filters appear clean, more troubleshooting is needed.

  • Check your vents.

    Keeping your air vents clean and unobstructed is vital to keeping that good airflow that helps your AC work efficiently. However, life happens. The kids go running around the house while playing a game and manage to slide the sofa over a vent, or the dog drags his bed over the vent so he can have a cool place to nap. Either way, blocked vents can make your house feel warmer than it should and potentially restrict airflow as much as a clogged air filter. So before you call in a repair specialist, make sure all your vents are uncovered and clear of debris.

  • Check the circuit breaker.

    It’s possible that your AC isn’t working because it isn’t getting any power. If there’s been an unexpected power surge, the breaker may have tripped and cut power to the air conditioner. Head to your electrical panel and make sure that all the breakers are set to ON and delivering power to their intended destinations.

    If the breaker serving your air conditioning system has tripped, reset it. That should solve the problem, but if the breaker trips again, you’ll want to call in a professional to examine the AC unit’s electrical connections.

  • Inspect the outside unit.

    Once you have checked all possible indoor issues, head outside and check the exterior AC unit. It should have about three feet of clear space around it and no obstructions like broken limbs or creeping vines touching it.

    Also, listen to the sounds it’s making as it runs (if it’s running). The sound it makes can tell you a lot about the problem you’re facing. For example, grinding or squealing could mean you need a relatively inexpensive maintenance visit while rattling or jingling may indicate a refrigerant leak that could be more costly to fix.

Bonus Step: Call R.S. Andrews!

If you’ve made it through all five of these DIY troubleshooting steps and your air conditioner still isn’t working as it should, it’s time to call an air conditioning expert. R.S. Andrews Air Conditioning & Heating has served the Lowcountry with trusted HVAC expertise since 1968. We are available to solve your air conditioning emergency 24 hours a day, so you don’t have to swelter in the heat a moment longer than necessary. Call us at (843) 706-5090 to get help now!

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