Having a broken air conditioner can be one of the most miserable experiences imaginable if you are trapped in the middle of a hot summer. On top of that, a problem with your air conditioning might also indicate a problem with the rest of your HVAC. That means that you might not only have a problem with your AC, but you might also have problems with your heating! To help you minimize your discomfort, here is a brief guide on what to do if your air conditioner suddenly stops working:
Identify the Nature of the Problem
Sometimes, a problem with your air conditioner might be extremely easy to fix. Other times, you might need to call in a professional to help you out. In the interest of saving money, you will want to figure out exactly what is wrong with your air conditioner before calling a repairman.
- Is the air conditioner working in some rooms and not others?
If that's the case, then the problem is most likely in your ventilation. There might be a blockage somewhere in your vents, or the problem might be as simple as furniture accidentally blocking off the entrance to a vent. Unfortunately, this category of problem can be quite difficult to detect if your house has good circulation. Rooms with working AC will lower the temperature of the whole house somewhat, but will use a lot more energy than normal to do so.
In order to accurately check whether or not this is the problem, you should close all the doors in your house in order to compartmentalize each room. After an hour or two, if some rooms with vents are much hotter than the others, then you probably have a ventilation problem.
- Does the thermostat work at all?
A common problem with climate control is breaker tripping. If you have lost power recently, or even if you haven't, you should check the circuit breakers for your house. After all, you don't want to spend a chunk of money on a repairman who is just going to come and flip a switch.
- Is the vent on the outside of your house blowing hot air?
If your air conditioner is working properly, then there will be a steady flow of hot air out of your house. It is impossible to "remove" heat, so an air conditioner actually works using a large amount of energy to "cool" some air, which is then inserted into your house. The hot air coming out of the air conditioner is air that was in your house, which was then heated as a result of the air conditioner cooling down your house, and then dumped outside, where it won't heat your house up.
- What if it still isn't working?
At this point, you might want to call a repairman (such as one from Arlington Heating & Air Conditioning). Air conditioners are high-powered machines that can be quite dangerous to tinker around with, so it's best to leave some problems to the professionals.