Basic Air Conditioning Troubleshooting

Today, most homes rely on some sort of heating and air system to keep their home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. These systems are not just essential for personal comfort, but can also be necessary to keep your home in good repair. For instance, having no heat during the winter can cause the pipes in the home to freeze.

When troubleshooting an Air Conditioning System, it is important to approach the problem logically and try to find out why the system isn't working. All to often, people simply start replacing items on the unit, rather than testing the items and tracing the problem. This can not only be very costly, but is also often simply ineffective.

Find the Wiring Diagrams

Before you do anything, make sure you have a copy of the wiring diagram and manual of your air conditioner. You should be able to download this from the manufacturers website or have them fax it to you. This way, you know where the individual components are located.

Be Careful When Working With Electricity

As with any electrical appliacne, it is very important to be careful and reduce the risk of electrical shock. This is especially true of air conditioners, which often use more than 2 times the electricity of a normal household outlet.

If you do not feel comfortable working around electricity or have no experience working around electricity, please consult a professional.

What an Air Conditioning Needs to Work

One of the best ways to trouble shoot any system is to break it down into parts and check that each part is working. This is the standard practice when it comes to no start diagnostics on a small engine, with air conditioning units being very similar.

There are 9 items that an Air Conditioning Needs to Work:

  1. Refrigerant
  2. Correct Evaporator Pressure, which allows the refrigerant to reach the correct temperature
  3. Proper Ventilation Between the Unit and the Area to be cooled
  4. Proper Compressor Pressure and Temperature
  5. Correctly Sized Compressors
  6. Proper Heat Removal from the Compressor
  7. Large, unobstructed liquid line
  8. Clean filter, valves, and other parts in the suction line
  9. A correctly wired control system

By breaking it down into these sections, the troubleshooting process can be simplified, as each of these sections can be checked. When an error is found, it can then be traced back to the correct system and hopefully fixed.

Getting Started with Troubleshooting

The history of the air conditioning unit is very important, as it can provide clues as to why it is not working. For example, a very new system that is not or has not ever worked is more likely to have some sort of wiring fault, whereas a very old system is more likely to have some sort of pressure related problem.

Next, find out what the air conditioning is doing and what it is not. For instance, if the fans are not turning, then before you can do anything, you must determine why the fans are not turning. This usually points to some sort of electrical problem.

If, on the other hand, the system turns on, but does not cool properly, it is probably pressure related. Again, a new system is likely going to have some sort of wiring fault, but older systems usually have developed one or more worn parts. Check the filters and for any leaking areas or sagging pipes.

There are also a lot of things you can learn by simply observing the air conditioning unit. For example, pay attention to any vibration, leaks, or anything that looks broken. It is also important to listen to the compressor, keeping an ear out for any knocks, pings, or other sounds that could indicate some sort of mechanical problem.

Very carefully, feel pipes and verify that they are really cold when they should be cold or hot when they should be hot. Also, use your sense of smell to see if you detect any traces of burning wires, slipping belts, or any other smell that is not normal.

While many types of troubleshooting can be done by an untrained individual, a working knowledge of how air conditioners work is required.

No Comments Yet

Add Comment