Just because you aren't a heating and air conditioning repairman doesn't mean you can't troubleshoot a few problems rather than paying for an expensive house call. You'd hate to call out the repairman only to find out that your air conditioner wasn't turned on. See below for helpful troubleshooting tips for some common A/C issues.
Air Conditioner Won't Turn On
If your air conditioner isn't turning on, you'll need to check a couple of things. First, begin with the unit itself and check that it is plugged in. There should be an outlet outside near the unit. Also check that the power is turned on to the unit. Check the ON/OFF switch on the blower motor to see that it is turned on. Next, check that power is going to the unit via your fuse box. Check that there haven't been any blown fuses. If there are, turn the fuse back on, or have the fuse changed if it is broken. The last step is checking the thermostat to see that it is turned on to "Cool" or "A/C" (thermostats are all different, so they could say either of these). If it isn't turned on to the air conditioner, turn it on to see if this turns on your air conditioning unit. You may want to change the temperature a couple of degrees to see that it turns on. If this still doesn't turn on your air conditioner, you may have a bigger problem and it may be time to call out a repair tech.
Lack Of Airflow
If your air conditioner is working, but not cooling your home properly, you may have some issues with poor airflow. In this case, check the outside unit to see that there isn't anything blocking the unit itself. You may need to clean the outer fins of debris, which you can do using a garden hose (after turning the unit off). The fins can become blocked with dirt, dust, grass clippings and cottonwood. Also check around the unit to see that there isn't any shrubbery or other landscaping that could be blocking the flow of air to your unit. Next, move inside to see that all of the vents inside your home are free and clear of clutter and debris, and also make sure the vents are open. Next, check your filter to see that it is clean. If you cannot see light through it, it's time to change it to a new one. If this doesn't help with air flow, you may want to call out a professional, as you could have blockages inside your duct work.
Turning On And Off Frequently
If your air conditioner is cycling more often than normal, you could have the same issues above with blockages around the unit outside. Check the area around the unit and clean the fins. If this doesn't help, check the thermostat to be sure there isn't anything blocking it. If this doesn't help, you could be low on refrigerant inside your unit. This is something that should be left to the professionals.
Troubleshooting common problems is something every homeowner can do. Sometimes simple maintenance such as changing the air filter and cleaning your unit can make a big difference in cooling your home. However, if troubleshooting doesn't fix your problems, don't hesitate to call an air conditioning repair service like Doctor Fix-It.