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Be Sure to do this Before Calling for A/C Service

These steps may save you time, money, and the hassle of going without air conditioning.

Have you ever had that moment of fear where you know something isn't right with your air conditioner, but you’re almost too scared to find out? Is that HVAC service call going to cause inconvenience or about to cost money?

These steps may save you time, money and the hassle of going without air conditioning.

1. Is there electrical power to the house?

Believe it or not, we get two or three calls from homeowners every year where we show up only to find out that the house and maybe even the whole neighborhood has no power. This is embarrassing and it causes some bad feelings when the service technician wants to collect payment for a service call just to say, "Call us back when the power comes on."

2. Is the gas meter turned on with your local utility provider?

Here in Birmingham, Alabama, many homes use gas heat. For a gas furnace, the gas meter needs to be in place and your gas account active. Five or six times every year, we find out that someone moves into a house, but has never called for gas service. This occurs mostly when someone moves from a warm climate (Florida) where there is very little heat needed.

3. Have you checked the air filter?

The airflow to your A/C or heating unit is very important and air filters should be changed regularly. If they’re not changed regularly, the restriction of air can cause the A/C unit to malfunction.

4. Are there batteries in the thermostat?

If the thermostat display doesn’t light up, change the batteries.

5. Has the circuit breaker been tripped?

Check the circuit breaker in the breaker box. Many people still call it a fuse box, but they haven’t used fuses in years.

If the breaker to your HVAC unit has been tripped, reset the breaker. However, keep in mind that circuit breakers trip for safety reasons and if the breaker trips again, an electrician should look into the problem. Often, the breaker isn’t the problem, it’s something in the wiring pulling more electricity than it should.

6. Have you checked the switch on the indoor unit?

Here in Birmingham, and in many other locales, local code says there must be an on-off switch next to the indoor air handler unit for safety reasons. I’ve experienced this problem myself when my son was playing with a ball in the garage. The ball bounced over to the furnace and hit the switch, turning off the unit.

7. Did you check the disconnect switch to the outdoor unit?

This is the same thing as above. There should be a disconnect switch at the outdoor unit. Make sure it is plugged in or flipped on. Be very careful, as this switch controls the 240 volts of electricity to the outdoor A/C unit and it’s very dangerous.

8. What about the condensation pump and/or A/C drain line?

Many A/C units have a water safety switch to stop them from operating if water could leak into your home and ruin ceilings and floors. Checking for water in a pan under the unit could tell you the drain is clogged. Simply empty the pan and flush out the drain line and the unit may start operating again.

9. What about the safety switch in the pan under the A/C unit?

We see it happen in attics where someone was moving boxes in and out of an attic and bumped the unit or pan. This switch could be the problem. Do not bypass the safety switch or you could have a huge water mess in your home.

If these items do not solve your problem, call an HVAC service professional to help.

Source: Angie’s List

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