It is easy to lose your cool when a perfect summer day is ruined with the air conditioning conking out. Who wants to drive a car with an air condition system that does not work in the sweltering afternoon heat? No matter what automobile you drive, a Mercedes Benz, BMW X5, Chrysler Town and Country, Volvo, Dodge Ram, Toyota Sienna or Prius, Kia Sedona, Scion TC, or Ford Windstar or Taurus, you still arrive at your destination hot and sweaty. Just the same, air conditioning problems at home or at the workplace can also blow your cool. Besides the discomfort, they could even cause your energy bill or gas expenses to skyrocket. That is why, it is important to always follow proper maintenance and address setbacks at once. Additionally, a home or car owner must have some knowledge on how to troubleshoot air conditioning problems to eliminate the need to call a technician even for the simplest glitches.
Home air conditioning problems range from the simple common sense quick fix that can be done by a Do-It-Yourself enthusiast, to the complicated and serious task that is best delegated to a technician. Calling a technician each time you encounter air conditioning problems may not be practical. That is why, it would be good to learn how to troubleshoot some simple hitches. Some of these are discussed below.
1. Air conditioning unit does not turn on. There are several reasons for this occurrence. The first thing to check when confronted by this hitch is power. A separate circuit breaker is usually used for central air conditioning systems, typically with a double switch. This switch is used to avoid unintentionally turning on the AC unit during winter or when cooling is not necessary. Inspect if the circuit breaker is turned on, and if it is, switch it off then back on. In many instances, the switch has been set off but is only set close enough to make it look like in the on position, but is actually not yet turned on.
If you are using a room air conditioner, inspect palpable reasons why it does not turn on. Check if it is plugged. If it is, check whether or not the outlet is live by plugging a lamp or another appliance into it. Also find out if the selector switch inside the unit is activated. Check also the fan, coolant pressure, thermostat, noise, condensate drainage and start-up time when your unit refuses to come alive.
2. Air conditioner leaks water into the house. If an indoor mini pool suddenly forms at the base of the air conditioner, inspect the tubes for any leaks and replace as needed. If the tubes are in good condition, put some water into the pan of the condensate pump to check if it is busted or is not receiving power. Have it repaired or replaced if it is busted.
Another cause for the leaky unit is if the round check valve next to the discharge tube may be jammed. To find out, unscrew the check valve, unfasten the ball inside and check for any impediments. If you see a condensation drain tube blocked by algae, you may have to sever it so that you can poke a wire through it to remove obstacles. Tip some diluted bleach solution into the pipe to terminate the algae. Then put the tube back later using a coupling. Besides algae, ice could obstruct the tube. If this happens, check if the filter is dirty and clean it.
1. Air Conditioner does not turn on. This is the same scenario mentioned above. If after doing the troubleshooting steps mentioned above and your unit still does not come alive, or if the ones mentioned are not the cause behind the problem, you may need to call your technician especially if both panel breaker or compressor breaker circuit disconnect automatically after your attempt to use the unit again. Do not switch it on again because a serious electrical trouble may be the cause and is best seen by a trained technician.
2. Air handler is noisy. Majority of air handlers are equipped with direct-drive motors, but a few older units are still driven with belt. When the belt that links the motor to the blower of a belt-driven air handler falls, that is when you hear this noise. The bearings of the motor for a direct-drive blower may be shot, if it is producing these squealing sounds. It is best to turn off the unit and have it checked by an HVAC repair technician.
3. Air conditioner leaks water into the house. If you have checked the tube and cleaned the filter, just as suggested previously, but the unit is still leaking, the refrigerant level may possibly be low and needs to be recharged. This is the time you would need a technician as a special equipment is required to do this.
Auto air conditioning problems can be as vexing as those that besiege central and home air conditioners. Air conditioning problems in modern and relatively newer cars and automobiles rarely occur as technology has made them more reliable. The two most common auto air conditioning problems could either be the absence of cool air and insufficient cool air. If no cool air is produced, it could be caused by: a defective expansion valve, an obstructed expansion valve, loose or broken drive belt, blown fuse, faulty compressor or slipping compressor clutch, and any leaking parts earlier mentioned or any of the unit's lines, hoses or seals. The possible reasons that your car air conditioner may be producing minimal cool air are: loose drive belt, low refrigerant charge,
congested condenser, slipping compressor clutch, slow leak in system, obstructed evaporator and partially blocked filter or expansion valve.
There may be nothing much for you to do when your car air-con breaks down, but have it repaired by a qualified technician, as most of them need certain equipment that an ordinary car owner does not have, such as the equipment used for recharging the refrigerant. However, you can take proactive measures to keep it in good running condition. One of which is periodic maintenance as prescribed by the manual. Also make sure that the air-con runs at least 10 minutes per month, even if you live somewhere where turning on the AC during the cold months may seem illogical. This requirement is necessary to maintain the proper lubrication of the compressor. The air conditioning system contains a light mineral oil in the refrigerant for that purpose.
A caravan of owners of the 2003 Honda Odyssey EX have complained of suddenly getting warm air from the front and rear blowers of the car air conditioning system. The problem typically involves the front fan blowing only when set on high and the air produced is warm while the rear fan was running even at low but still blows warm air. After turning on the ignition, the compressor came to life for just a couple of seconds and then halted.
If you encounter a similar experience, check your control panel if it is normally working. You may find that it may be caused by a malfunctioning transistor assembly which can be solved simply through a 10-minute part replacement and about $50 depending on where you have it repaired.
Some drivers of the 2004 Honda Accord complained that the air-con in their car unexpectedly quit working, even after turning the knob for the airflow. The light indicator also did not come to life even after pushing the control buttons for defrost, airflow, and the like. This may be due to a burnt out blower motor resistor, which functions to protect the electrical part of the air conditioning system. Replacing this is not very costly and would take at most two hours to have the system checked and repaired.
Some Honda car owners, whether Accord, Odyssey, CRV or Civic, who experienced what they call “black death” of the air conditioning system which is common among Honda cars advise others to choose a competent mechanic to handle air conditioning problems. Black death is the term they use when the air-con compressor disintegrates internally and the only solution to the problem is to replace the entire air conditioning system. You do not want this to happen to your Honda cars, as this will cost an arm and a leg.
A setback encountered by some a Ford Expedition owner is that regardless of whether the control is set as hot or cold, only heat is produced by the front vents. It starts with the said vents getting jammed to either hot or cold setting even if shifting the control already. Changing the vent setting though can at times shift it from hot to cold or cold to hot. The unfortunate part is that the repair shop he went to could not seem to accurately nail the problem down. As a result their solutions, such as replacing the blend door and fastening a loose wire, were ineffective.
The following is a list of the top 3 problems raised by owners of the 2002 Ford Explorer concerning its air conditioning system:
1. Air-con does not work. Many dealerships cannot identify the cause, and the common recommendation is to replace the condenser. Average cost to address this problem is about $600.
2. Rear air conditioning starts a clicking sound when turned on. Possible solutions to this problem are replacement of rear A/C flapper (mixer) door and unplugging the rear A/C roof vent/ low vent selector motor. This would entail an average cost of $300.
3. Clicking sound coming from the front of the vehicle. This can be solved by replacing the door actuator motor, which would cost less than $70.
Air conditioning problems also beset jeeps, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Wrangler and the 2006 Jeep Commander. One air conditioning snag encountered by a Wrangler owner is that the A/C blows out only when he sets the fan on both extreme levels, leaving the two mid-range levels non-functional. This can actually be fixed easily by replacing the fan switch, which can be done in 15 minutes using a screw driver and a ¼ socket. You have to detach the cowling that shields the ashtray, radio and air-con switches. Unscrew the two screws found on top of the dashboard and the ashtray so that you can detach the air conditioning panel. You can then detach the old switch and replace it with the one you bought. Then put them all back together.
One concern that Jeep Cherokee owners have with the air conditioning system of their jeeps is a fluctuation of temperature during the summer and winter while driving. It does not properly cool or heat as set and expected. The fan work fine, but the air from the A/C is neither hot nor as cool as it should be.
This may be due to the heater core about to go out. If it is so, expect your glove compartment to flood or be wet when it rains. Another cause would be trouble with the relay or heating coil, or a broken connector or contact from the temperature control knob. To be sure, check the Hane’s manual or better yet, have it diagnosed by a mechanic.