The breeze rolling off Lake Michigan might keep Chicagoland residents cool most days of the year, but a lack of air conditioning in the middle of summer is a recipe for discomfort, even in Illinois. If your air conditioner suddenly breaks down on the hottest day of the year, takes these steps to keep your family cool and comfortable.
Call a Professional
While you may be tempted to take the DIY approach, it may very well result in even more damage. To prevent days of sweltering heat inside your home, call a professional to check and repair your air conditioner. Give the technician as many details as possible so he or she knows what to expect upon arrival.
Evaluate the Air Filter and Internal Unit
Access the air conditioner inside the home and check for dust and dirt on the filter or in the other components. In many cases, a malfunctioning air conditioner points to dirty coils or moving parts that cannot function in their current state, so this should be your first step in troubleshooting the problem. If you clean those components, your air conditioner might restart like normal.
It's important to remember that you must change your air filter at least every three months throughout the year. If you have pets or if you smoke in the home, you might need to change it more often to prevent debris buildup. If you aren't comfortable cleaning your air conditioner, hire a professional for annual maintenance.
Check Breaker Switches
If your power goes out or your home's electrical system experiences any other disruption, the breaker connected to your air conditioning unit might trip. In this case, you must reset the breaker before the air conditioner will come back on. If the breaker feels warm or if resetting it doesn't work, call a professional immediately.
Look for Clogs in the Outdoor Unit
Twigs, clumps of grass, and other environmental elements sometimes block an outdoor air conditioning unit. This can lead to a disconnection between the indoor and outdoor unit, as well as a lack of air flow inside the home. Look around the entire unit and note anything that seems amiss. Check the wires and cords leading from the unit for signs of damage, too. Sometimes insects and rodents damage those components.
Feel All Indoor Vents
You might discover that your problem relates to the ductwork or vents. Use a step-ladder to reach all registers with your hand. If you don't feel cold air coming from any of them, the problem probably involves your AC unit. If, however, cool air comes from some of them, you'll know that your ductwork should be inspected.
Relay any observations to the technician who arrives to service your air conditioner. The more information you give, the faster he or she can restore your cool air flow. In the meantime, write down anything you've noticed about your home's temperature in the last few months, such as hot spots or an air conditioner that runs more often than usual.
Turn On Fans
To keep comfortable until a professional can fix your air conditioner, turn on fans in the rooms your family occupies. This will encourage air circulation. Keep plenty of cool beverages on hand and use cold compresses to cool your pulse points, such as your wrists and the base of your neck. If you focus on maintaining a cool internal temperature, the heat won't feel so unbearable.
Turn Off the Air Conditioner
If you notice that the indoor unit has produced condensation or if the unit is attempting to run constantly, turn it off. Otherwise, you could cause more damage than necessary or create a safety risk. If you aren't sure how to respond, call your air conditioning repair service and ask their advice. Turning off the unit can mean the difference between a fast fix and the need for an entire replacement.
Losing your air conditioner at any point during the summer is never a welcome development, but responding quickly and efficiently to the problem can make a big difference. If you're having trouble with your AC, visit our website or call 855-438-2663