Indoor Or Outdoor AC Trouble – How Can You Tell?

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Spring is here, which means you're probably thinking about turning your air conditioner back on. Of course, everyone knows what can happen if you wait until the first scorcher to fire up your home's cooling system. If something goes wrong, you'll only learn about it when you need your system the most, leaving you sweating on your couch while waiting for an AC technician to arrive.

To avoid this, you should always try running your AC system as temperatures warm up, but before you really need it. But, what should you do if your vents don't greet with the cooling air you expect? First, don't panic. Second, take a step back and determine if the problem is with your indoor or outdoor unit since this information can help a repair technician locate the problem more efficiently.

What's the Difference?

Your home's air conditioning system consists of both indoor and outdoor equipment. When HVAC techs refer to these two sides of your system, they're typically talking about the condenser (outdoor) and evaporator (indoor) units. Your evaporator will also include a blower shared with your home's furnace if you have a forced-air heating system.

Air conditioning systems work by removing heat from your home. The evaporator coils absorb the indoor heat and transport it to the condenser coils by using a fluid known generally as a refrigerant. This action allows cool air to accumulate around the evaporator coils, and your house blower then pushes this air out to the vents in each room.

How Can You Tell What's Wrong?

Air conditioning problems can be complex, so it may be challenging for a homeowner to understand why your system isn't working. However, you can take a few steps that will provide some clues to the source of the problem. You should have a helper set the thermostat in your home to a few degrees cooler than the interior temperature while you stand near your outdoor unit.

Once the thermostat has a new setpoint, it should begin calling for cooling. At this point, the large fan on top of the condenser unit will turn on, and you should hear the compressor motor engage. The compressor motor is typically the loudest part of an AC system, so it should be easy to recognize. If the fan doesn't run or the compressor won't turn on, you may have an issue with your outdoor unit.

You can also listen near your evaporator coils. Can you hear the main blower motor running? If not, that's a good sign your blower isn't working or isn't receiving a signal to turn on. Your evaporator coils can freeze without adequate airflow, forcing your compressor to shut down. You also won't get any cool air from your vents, keeping your home uncomfortably warm.

When you're ready to call an HVAC technician for help, let them know about your diagnostic steps. Providing this basic information can make their job easier, allowing them to more quickly fix your system and get your home cool again. Contact an AC service such as Sturdevant Air Conditioning today for more information.