How to Repair a Broken Air Conditioner

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A central air conditioner cannot be repaired by anyone but a professional. It has no user-serviceable parts. A window or room air conditioner does have parts that can be repaired without the need for a professional. However, because room air conditioners differ from model to model, brand-to-brand, repairing them will require that the owner’s manual be consulted.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Cordless vacuum cleaner or regular vacuum cleaner
  • Vacuum cleaner attachment(s) that will fit in small area(s)
  • Small brush or vacuum cleaner brush attachment (if it will fit)
  • Damp cloth
  • Fin comb (to straighten bent coil fins)

How to repair a broken air conditioner

  • Unplug the air conditioner. Remove the cover from the air conditioner by either unscrewing it or pulling it off its support mounts. Clean the covers, if necessary, by brushing or vacuuming any visible dirt, or wiping down with a damp rag.

  • Determine what exactly is wrong with the air conditioner. Keep in mind that the only parts that can be fixed without professional help are the fan, filter, power cord, selector switch and the coils on the evaporator and condenser. All other parts must be repaired a professional.

  • Clean the fan, using the necessary vacuum cleaner attachments to clean the blades and the housing, or wipe everything off with the damp rag.

  • Remove the old filter, noting how it fits, and take the old one with you to the store to be sure you are purchasing the correct replacement. Take the new one home and install it.

  • Remove the broken or frayed power cord from the unit, and take it with you when you go to purchase the new one. Purchase a replacement power cord, and follow the instructions in the owner’s manual regarding how to install it.

  • Use the screwdriver to unscrew the selector switch from its housing, and check for scorch marks or other signs of damage. Take it with you to purchase a new one, and then install it according to the instructions included with the switch or provided in the owner’s manual.

  • Use a brush or the vacuum cleaner attachments to clean the coils on the evaporator and condensor. Use the corner-cleaning wand to reach the small areas; use the brush attachment to clean the larger areas and the outside. Use the fin brush to gently bend them back into their original shape, if necessary.

  • If the coils on the evaporator or condenser are dirty, use a brush or the vacuum cleaner attachments to clean them. Use the corner-cleaning wand to reach the small areas; use the brush attachment to clean the larger areas and the outside. If the coils on the evaporator or condenser are bent, use the fin brush to GENTLY bend them back into their original shape. Be careful, as they can break easily.If these steps do not solve the problem, you may need to consult a professional.

Tips & Warnings

  • If these steps do not solve the problem, you may need to consult a professional.
  • Make note of any model numbers that are provided either in the owner’s manual or on the parts themselves. Also, write down the brand name of the unit. This information will prove invaluable when you are purchasing replacement parts.
  • Regular maintenance of a room air conditioner will keep little problems from turning into larger ones. Replace filters regularly; keep fans, coils and grilles (outside covers) clean and dust-free.
  • Check the drain ports; clean or unclog them if necessary. If the air conditioner cannot remove the liquid that occurs from normal operation, it may not function as well.
  • Do not attempt to repair any part of the room air conditioner that is NOT user-serviceable. Call a professional.

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