3 Common Problems to Look For When Your AC Unit Stops Working


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It’s bound to happen eventually during a hot (late) summer day. Nearly every homeowner has experienced the sweaty and sticky misery that ensues when your air conditioner stops working.

You might be tempted to immediately call a licensed HVAC technician for a quick fix, but there are do-it-yourself air conditioner troubleshooting tips that might save you some money, including:

Check the Thermostat Settings
The most obvious place to look when your home feels warmer is your thermostat. Your children could be the culprit of your A/C issues! If your air conditioner is switched to the wrong setting, it could result in warm or hot air coming from the vents. Likewise, your HVAC system could be turned off completely, leaving your home’s air feeling stagnant and stale.

As soon as you sense that something might be wrong with your air conditioner, go to your thermostat and verify that it is set to “cool” and not “heat” or “off.” Although it might sound silly, this mistake happens more often than you’d think — especially during seasonal transitions.

Check the HVAC Filters
If your furnace fan is operating normally, then the air conditioner might be functioning properly, but there is a blockage preventing circulation. Check your HVAC filters to ensure they are clean and not preventing air from freely flowing through. Ideally, you’ll want to change your filters every one to two months. If you have a family pet or children with sensitive allergies then you might even want to change it more often!

Test to see if your filters need to be changed by pulling them out and seeing if they are clogged with debris. Homeowners with horizontal HVAC units, with the return duct attached to the side of the air handler, should be able to find their filters in a slot on the intake side of the unit.

Check the Condenser Capacitor & Contractor
Both the capacitor and contractor are located inside the condenser unit, which sits outside. The capacitor starts the condenser and the fan, so if the capacitor failed, then that is definitely the source of your air conditioner problems.

First, listen for a clicking noise coming from your condenser unit followed by a hum or buzz. If you hear those strange sounds, then it probably means that the fan motor is attempting to start without the support of the capacitor.

Meanwhile, if the compressor clicks when your crank down the thermostat but doesn’t make a humming or buzzing noise, then the contractor (rather than the capacitor) needs to be replaced.

Tried All the Troubleshooting Steps? The Next Step Is to Contact the Best
Not everyone is an HVAC expert, so don’t feel discouraged if you walked through what to check when your AC stops working and couldn’t find a solution.

The knowledgeable team at John C. Flood services and repairs all HVAC systems in the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia region. We have the experience to answer all your questions — and more importantly, the know-how to get your AC system back up and running.

If you’re confused about how to troubleshoot an AC unit, call (703) 752-1266 or contact their HVAC team online today!


John C FloodWith more than 100-years of experience serving the DMV area, John C. Flood provides excellent plumbing, air conditioning, heating, and electrical services! Their experience, expertise, and reliability make them the area’s go-to for homeowners and renters needing maintenance, repair, and service on a variety of HVAC and plumbing needs!

Plus, it’s easy to book an appointment online, and John C. Flood will put you on their convenient list of check-up customers, so you’ll always have regular inspections and catch plumbing problems before they grow! Call them today at (703) 752-3901 and mention "DULLES" for 15% off your first service call!


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