Air conditioners are important in areas where hot weather is a problem. When an air conditioner stops working during a heat wave, having it repaired can take days, especially if it's an older or discontinued model. Many of the problems that cause an air conditioner to breakdown are simple, such as a clogged air filter or a plugged drain line. With a few simple household tools, you can fix many air conditioner problems at a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional repair person.
Things You'll Need
Disconnect the air conditioner's power source. If it has a plug that goes directly into a wall outlet, remove the plug from the outlet. If it is hard wired (wired into the house's electrical system), turn off the electricity for that section of the house. If in doubt about which breaker switch to turn off, shut off the house's entire electrical system at the circuit breaker box.
Remove the access panel from the front or back of the air conditioner. Use either a standard or Phillips screwdriver to remove the panel. On some units, you will have to remove the entire metal or plastic casing to access the unit's interior. Place any loose screws in a coffee cup to avoid losing them.
Check all the plastic hoses within the air conditioner to make sure they are held securely in place, using a flashlight to guide you. Loose lines can affect the air conditioner's effectiveness. If one of the hoses is damaged (tears, cracks, etc), loosen the fasteners (if any) that hold the tube in place and remove it. Purchase a new piece of vinyl tubing with the same inside diameter as the original hose. Most plumbing supply stores carry this type of flexible tubing.
Remove the air filter. Air conditioners draw in air, cool it down and then blow it back out with a built-in fan. Dirty or clogged filters and fans impede the flow of air. If the filter is dirty, use compressed or canned air to remove the debris. If the filter is torn or too worn to work effectively, write down the air conditioner's model and serial number. Purchase a new filter at a building supply or appliance store. Blow the fan out as well.
Blow out any debris inside the air conditioner's interior with compressed air. Dirt or debris that settles on the electrical components inside of an air conditioner can cause shorts which, in turn, can cause the unit to malfunction. Check the wiring as well to make sure there are no loose connections or areas where the wiring is exposed (bare metal showing). Place the cover back onto the access panel or the outer housing back onto the air conditioner.
Tips & Warnings
- Check the air conditioner's interior and the air filter once every six months to ensure that it operates at maximum efficiency. Use a plastic bucket to collect any excess water while removing drainage lines (plastic tubing). Check air vents for potential blockages that impede the flow of air.
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