How to Fix a Broken AC Unit

An AC unit can keep a home cool during the hot summer months. In addition, when properly maintained, it can provide years of cooling comfort. However, people worry about what happens when one breaks down. While homeowners can attempt several fixes, for severe problems they may need to call a professional HVAC repair person.

However, for smaller problems such as fixing leaks and replacing Freon or AC capacitors, homeowners can usually handle the fix themselves. They can even follow specific steps to maintain the AC to extend its usable life span. Homeowners can find a variety of items on Severstalna to help them repair a broken AC unit.

Common AC Unit Problems and How to Fix Them

Most often the reason an AC unit needs repair is a result of a few common causes, including Freon leaks and faulty capacitors. The more complicated components of an air conditioner, such as the condenser or evaporator, are sealed and usually require maintenance by a professional HVAC technician. Before attempting any repair on an AC unit, remember to cut the power to the unit, including turning the unit off at the air conditioner thermostat inside the home, flipping the breaker in the breaker box, and pulling the fuse if the unit has a separate one.

Freon Leaks

A Freon leak is one of the most common reasons that an AC unit does not cool properly in the summer. While any significant repairs, especially large leaks, should not be attempted by anyone except a trained HVAC repair person, homeowners can attempt to repair smaller Freon leaks using a Freon leak repair kit.

A Freon repair kit comes with everything needed to fix small Freon leaks, including the hose to hook to the system, the valve to control the flow of sealant, and the sealant itself. Make sure to buy a kit large enough for the AC unit. Most homes have an AC unit of less than five tons, though owners can find the actual size of their air conditioners by researching the make, model, and serial number of their units.

To use a Freon leak repair kit, clip the hose and fitting to the suction line at the condenser or outside unit. Connect a can of sealant to the hose and run the air conditioner. The compressor sucks the sealant into the unit, which then seals any smaller leaks within the AC unit. Owners then need to replace the lost Freon to complete the repair.

Faulty Capacitor

Capacitors store the energy that helps run an AC unit. Air conditioner owners attempting to replace a capacitor need to discharge it first before proceeding. Simply turning off the power does not negate the risk of shock when replacing capacitors. The safest way to discharge a capacitor is through the use of a resistor attached to an insulated wire lead. Some people use a rubber-handled screwdriver to short out all of the terminals, but this method is dangerous. If homeowners do attempt the screwdriver method, they should make sure they only touch the rubber handle when doing so.

After fully discharging the capacitor, homeowners can simply pull out the old capacitors and replace them with new ones. After replacing the access panel and restoring power to the air conditioner, owners should test the unit to make sure it works properly.

Maintaining an AC Unit

To keep an AC unit working properly requires regular cleaning and maintenance. Homeowners should have maintenance performed on their unit at least twice a year, once before the summer season starts and then again at the end of the season. In between maintenance visits, homeowners should also clean any debris from their units on a weekly basis, including from the evaporator and condenser coils. A dirty evaporator is a common cause of problems with an AC unit and homeowners should clean it, or for sealed evaporators have it cleaned, at least once a year. The same goes for the condenser coils, which homeowners should keep free of debris and covered with a condenser cover when not in use.