How to Repair a Central Air Conditioning Unit That Is Not Cooling


Central air conditioning is designed to maintain comfortable temperatures in the home during the summer heat. Encountering even minor problems with the central air conditioning unit can prevent cooling or may hinder the performance of the unit. While some of these problems are indeed more advanced and may require costly repairs, several things can be done that prevent or resolve these problems at very little cost in money and time to the homeowner.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Central air filter
  • Thermometer
  • Use a screwdriver if needed to remove the access panel to the return air duct in the home. Inspect the filter for visibly large amounts of dust buildup. Change the filter if you notice large amounts of dust buildup or if you cannot remember the last time the filter was changed.

  • Place a thermometer on or near each vent in the home. Make note of each temperature reading after approximately 10 minutes of evaluation. You will need this reading should you need to call a technician for service.

  • Verify that the vents in each room are opened and unobstructed. Obstructed or closed air vents in one or more rooms of the home may have an adverse effect on the unit cooling the rest of the home.

  • Inspect the outside unit of the central air conditioning system. Look for the larger copper line coming from the unit. If this line has any ice accumulation try replacing the filter. If that doesn't solve the not cooling problem, call the service technician as this could potentially indicate a low charge of refrigerant in the system. Do not use the air conditioner until the technician has addressed the issue. Be sure to use a water hose to remove any debris such as leaves and dirt from around the outside unit of the central air conditioner.

  • Inspect the air handler itself. The air handler is usually located in a closet in the home or in the attic. Look for the accumulation of dust and/or ice. Call the technician for assistance if there is excessive dust on the coils of the air handler.

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  • Photo Credit air conditioner, conditioning image by Greg Pickens from air conditioner vent image by Tammy Mobley from thermometer image by Dron from fins image by green308 from
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