Day: August 14, 2023

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Air Conditioning Services: Tips

This Blog was posted by Smithson Valley Services Air Conditioning. We serve the Texas Hill Country, including Blanco | Bulverde | Canyon Lake | Fisher | Kendalia | New Braunfels | North San Antonio |…

This Blog was posted by Smithson Valley Services Air Conditioning. We serve the Texas Hill Country, including Blanco | Bulverde | Canyon Lake | Fisher | Kendalia | New Braunfels | North San Antonio | Sattler | Sisterdale | Smithson Valley | Spring Branch | Startzville

There are a few things you can check and correct yourself when your AC stops cooling that will save you a service call.

First, you need to determine a couple of things. One, is the air handler working? Can you feel air blowing out of the vents?

When I say air blowing, it does not matter if it is cool air or room temperature. If there is air moving, the air handler is working.

Now, one note about feeling air coming out of the vents. Sometimes the evaporator coil, which looks a lot like the radiator on your car and is located inside the air handling unit, will get a layer of ice on it, and air can no longer move across it so it may seem like the air handler is not on. The best way to verify if the unit is circulating air is to actually take a dollar bill and try to get it to stick to the return air grill. This is usually where you put your air filter.

If it sucks the dollar bill to the grill, then the air handler is running.

Next, you need to see if the outdoor unit is running. Check to see if the fan on top is spinning. If it is, look down near the bottom of the unit where the two copper lines come out of your house. One will be small and the other larger and usually covered in black insulation.

Look right where that larger line comes into the unit and see if there is ice on it. If there is, that means one of two things. Either you are low on freon or you are not getting enough air across the evap coil in the air handler. You need to check your air filter, and if it is really dirty this could be the problem.

If you have ice, you need to turn the system off immediately. Just go to the thermostat, put the heat cool switch in the off position, and then turn the fan to the on position. It is usually in the auto position during normal operation.

As the fan tries to pull air across the coil, the ice will start to melt. If your air handler is in the attic, this increased melt-off could overflow the drain pan if it is not draining properly, so you need to try and locate a 3/4 inch white PVC line that comes out somewhere near the base of your house and make sure water is draining out of it.

Once you start getting good water flow, give it a few hours to completely melt and if you had a dirty filter, go ahead and change it and start up the system again and see if it cools the house properly. Make sure you check every few hours for any ice build-up on the line outside. If you see any, shut the unit off and give us a call.

Now, if you check the line and there is no ice, reach down and grab it with your hand. if it is slightly cool to the touch, then you are probably low on freon. If this is the case, give us a call for sure, as I will save you an absolute fortune on a pound of freon!

If the line is not cool, the compressor may not be running, or you may be really low on freon. (yes, low freon can make the pipe freeze up or leave it at the same temperature as the outside air, pretty weird, huh?) Once again, if this is the case, time to give us a call.

Okay, if the inside unit is on, but the outside is not, go ahead and check the breaker for the outdoor unit. If it is off or tripped go ahead and reset it. If it trips again, then give us a call. If it starts up fine, then it may have tripped because the outdoor unit cycled on and off too quickly, like during a brief power outage or when one of the kiddos turns the thermostat up and down real fast because they thought it might be a fun thing to do!

If the breaker is not tripped, it is time to call us.

Next, if you did the airflow test and there is no air moving at all, and you pay a gas or oil bill each month, then you might want to look for a red emergency switch on the wall in the hall or out in the garage near the access door to the house. If you have a gas furnace acting as the air handler for the ac, then you will have one of these switches.

I get probably half a dozen of these calls each summer, especially when visitors in the home blindly reach out into a dark garage or hallway and hit a switch trying to turn the lights on. Of course, they often turn off the emergency switch by mistake and don’t think to turn it back on because it is still dark, and they cannot see that bright red cover! Believe me; this happens all the time. Many people have no idea that the gas emergency switch shuts down everything, including the AC.

Of course, check your thermostat and make sure it is set right. Many homes nowadays have programmable thermostats, and sometimes the program gets messed up if you just bought the house maybe the prior owner had it programmed to set back the cooling in the house while they were away at work. Just go to the thermostat and press the down arrows until the reading is below the room temperature and then press “hold.”

If the ac comes on and stays on until the house is nice and cool, the programs are probably the culprit. Go online, look up your thermostat model, print out the programming instructions, and set it as you desire.

That should give you a few things to look at before giving anyone a call.

We will be glad to help you if you are still having trouble. Just call us today!