AC on the Fritz - Here's What to Do

AC on the Fritz? Here’s What to Do

Summer heat can be unbearable, and when the temperatures rise, your air conditioning unit may be the first thing to suffer. If you’ve been dealing with an AC on the fritz, you know this all too well. But fear not! There are ways that you can diagnose and even fix your AC unit—without breaking the bank or needing to hire a professional. In this blog post, we’ll cover some of the more common issues that can cause an AC unit to malfunction, as well as how to troubleshoot them yourself. With a little bit of DIY knowledge and know-how, you can get your cool air flowing again in no time.

Check the air filter

If your AC unit isn’t working properly, one of the first things you should check is the air filter. A dirty air filter can restrict airflow and cause your AC unit to work harder than it needs to. As a result, your AC unit may not be able to cool your home effectively and can even break down over time.

To check the air filter, simply remove it from the AC unit and hold it up to a light. If you can see through the filter, it’s clean and doesn’t need to be replaced. However, if the filter is dark or clogged with dirt and debris, it needs to be replaced.

Check for leaks

If your AC is on the fritz, the first thing you should do is check for leaks. Leaks can occur in the unit itself, in the ductwork, or in the tubing that connects the two. To check for leaks, start by inspecting the unit itself. If you see any cracks or holes, you’ll need to seal them up with caulk or tape. Next, check the ductwork for any gaps or holes. If you find any, seal them with mastic sealant or metal tape. Finally, check the tubing that connects the unit to the ductwork. If there are any leaks in this tubing, you’ll need to replace it.

Inspect the coils

When inspecting the coils, be sure to check for any cracks or holes. If there are any, it will need to be replaced. Also, check to see if the coils are clean. If they are dirty, they will need to be cleaned.

Clean the coils

If your AC unit is not working properly, one of the first things you should check is the coils. Over time, the coils can become dirty and clogged with dust, dirt, and other debris. This can cause the AC unit to work less efficiently and may even cause it to stop working altogether.

To clean the coils, you will need to remove the AC unit from its window or wall mount. Once the AC unit is removed, you can access the coils from the front or back of the unit. Using a soft brush or cloth, gently remove any dust or dirt that has accumulated on the coils. You may also use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to remove any debris from the coils.

Once you have cleaned the coils, replace the AC unit in its window or wall mount and turn it on. If your AC unit is still not working properly, you may need to contact a professional for further diagnostics and repairs.

Replace the capacitor

If your home air conditioner isn’t working as well as it should be, one possible explanation is a failed capacitor. The capacitor is a key component in an AC unit, providing the electrical charge that helps start up the compressor.

Fortunately, replacing a capacitor is a relatively easy and inexpensive repair. You can purchase a replacement capacitor at most hardware stores or online retailers. Once you have the new capacitor, follow these steps to install it:

1. Turn off power to the AC unit at the breaker box.

2. Remove the access panel from the AC unit.

3. Locate the old capacitor and disconnect it from the wires leading to the compressor and fan motor.

4. Install the new capacitor in the same position as the old one, making sure to connect it to the correct wires (consult your AC’s wiring diagram if necessary) 

5. Replace the access panel and turn on power to the AC unit at the breaker box.

If you’re not comfortable working with electricity, it’s best to call a professional HVAC technician to handle this repair for you.

Hire a professional

If your air conditioner is on the fritz, it’s important to act fast. A broken AC can quickly lead to an uncomfortable home and sky-high energy bills. The good news is that there are a number of steps you can take to fix the problem.

One option is to hire a professional. A professional AC repair person will have the skills and tools needed to diagnose and repair your AC. They can also advise you on what steps to take to prevent future problems.

If you decide to hire a professional, be sure to get references and check them out thoroughly. You don’t want to end up with someone who does shoddy work or overcharges you for simple repairs.

Once you’ve found a reputable AC repair person, they’ll likely start by inspecting your unit. They’ll look for any obvious signs of damage or wear and tear. They may also use special diagnostic tools to identify the source of the problem.

Once the problem is diagnosed, they’ll give you an estimate for the repairs. Be sure to get a few estimates before committing to any one company or repair person. This will help ensure that you’re getting a fair price for the repairs.


Having an air conditioning system that isn’t working can be a real source of frustration, but with the right knowledge and tools you can get your AC back up and running quickly. Try out some of these tips to troubleshoot your air conditioner problem or contact an HVAC professional for further assistance. Taking care of your AC now will save you from having to deal with costly repairs in the future.

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