Checklist: How to Troubleshoot Your AC For Common Problems

October 04, 2022

With the high heat and humidity in Southwest Florida, it’s no surprise that homeowners in the area call contractors frequently about air conditioner repairs.

However, some repairs do not involve any internal AC components, so homeowners can easily resolve them.

To save you some time and money, we’ll run through a checklist of fixes you can try to resolve common AC problems:

  • Making sure your thermostat is set correctly
  • Resetting your circuit breaker
  • Checking your air filter
  • Scheduling an AC tune-up

With some ordinary tools and time, you can prevent the usual AC problems and maintain your home’s ideal comfort level.

Rather Have an AC Technician Resolve the Issue ASAP?

Contact Advanced Air! We’re known for our prompt and reliable AC repair service. For example, we’ll have your system back up and running within a day. No matter the system problem, we’ll provide you with an upfront quote before any work starts.

Call us at (888) 853-5143 for same-day and emergency services.

Make Sure Your Thermostat Is Set Correctly

Keep your thermostat on COOL and AUTO.

To avoid common AC problems, make sure your thermostat has the right settings in place:

  • Your thermostat should be set to “cool”
  • The fan should be set to “auto”
  • The temperature setting should be lower than the current room temperature

While this may seem like a pretty easy fix, we see problems due to incorrect thermostat settings all the time. Power surges and outages can cause the thermostat to reset to factory defaults. Or sometimes, a household member bumps into the thermostat or purposely changes the settings without knowing what they mean.

For example, the thermostat needs to be in “AUTO” mode instead of “ON.” Why? ON mode keeps the air conditioner continually running no matter what—even if it’s not blowing out cold air. Warm air circulation is the opposite of what anybody wants from their AC.

Learn more in our blog, "Why Is My Air Conditioner Blowing Hot Air? A Florida Tech Explain".

Once you’ve reviewed that your thermostat is on the right settings, lower the temperature 3-5°F below your room’s current temperature and wait about five minutes to see if the AC kicks on.

Reset Your Circuit Breaker

Find your AC’s circuit breaker and reset it.

Another common reason an air conditioner suddenly stops working is if its circuit breaker trips (AKA in a “neutral” position) or a main electrical panel fuse blows. Either problem will shut off power to your air conditioner after it runs for only a few minutes.

Most air conditioners have two circuits: one for the inside unit and one for the outside unit. These circuits have separate breakers in your home’s main electrical panel with different names.

  • “AHU” for the indoor unit
  • “AC” or “condenser” for the outdoor unit

If these breakers aren’t labeled, find the ones in the middle position or have a color indicator for tripping. Did you find them, and are they indeed tripping?

Reset the circuit breakers with our step-by-step instructions in "Why is My AC Tripping the Circuit Breaker?". There may be a delay before your air conditioner turns back on, so give it a few minutes.

IMPORTANT: If your circuit breaker trips again, do NOT reset it. Call a professional as soon as possible. You could have a more serious electrical problem.

Check Your Air Filter and Vents

Change out your dirty air filter.

We cannot overstate how important it is to change out your AC air filter regularly. Keeping a clean air filter in your AC prevents short cycling, extends its lifespan, and helps it avoid breakdowns.

Learn how often you should change it in "How Often Should I Change My Air Filters In Florida?".

For your air conditioner to perform well and keep your home cool, it must get enough warm air intake to remove warmth and humidity from your air, especially as it tries to match your desired thermostat temperature settings.

Dirty air filters can cause your air conditioner to suddenly stop working or form ice buildup (yes, even during the summer). How? A clogged air filter creates a pressure drop due to the blocked airflow, causing the cold AC part that actually absorbs heat from the air to drop to below-freezing temperatures. So, condensation forms and freezes when humid air passes over the part.

If your air filter is dirty and you suspect this was the problem, try the following procedure:

  1. Check on your current air filter. Each unit should have the filter size located on its current air filter. If not, use a measuring tape for the height and width or look up the manufacturer’s website. Buy a replacement air filter.
  2. Turn off your AC, unscrew your air handler or grate from the return duct, and pull out the air filter.
  3. Throw out the current air filter if it’s dirty and filled with dust.
  4. Insert the new filter in the same direction as the old one. Follow the arrows printed on the filter.
  5. Wait a few minutes before turning the AC back on.

Schedule an AC Tune-Up

The best way to prevent these common problems and decrease your energy bills is to schedule an AC tune-up at least twice a year.

During the tune-up, a professional HVAC technician will inspect and clean your air conditioner to ensure it performs at its best. They will complete a set of standard maintenance items such as:

  • Check for clogs in the condensate line
  • Replace the air filter
  • Lubricate all moving parts
  • Tighten and fix loose or worn electrical connections
  • Check refrigerant lines
  • Ensure the blower works
  • And more

Investing in an AC tune-up gives homeowners the peace of mind that their AC won’t break down when they need it the most. Also, during tune-ups, many contractors will provide additional energy-saving tips.

You can also save money on AC tune-ups by enrolling in a maintenance plan. For a monthly or annual rate, you’ll be able to save money on tune-ups and other HVAC services and enjoy other perks.

Need Prompt AC Service? Contact Advanced Air!

Contact Advanced Air for reliable AC service in Southwest Florida.

If you’ve gone through the checklist above and your air conditioner is still not working, contact Advanced Air. Whether you need an AC repair, tune-up, replace your air filter, or want to inquire about our maintenance plan, we are ready to help. We offer convenient service hours from Monday through Saturday with emergency service availability.

We’ve served the Southwest Florida community for over 30 years. From the day our doors opened, our team of experts strives to provide punctual, respectful service with upfront pricing backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Call us at (888) 853-5143 or schedule below to experience 5-star service!

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