Troubleshoot Air Conditioning Problems

The last thing you want to happen on a hot summer day is for your air conditioning to stop working properly. We’ve all been there a time or two. It’s as if your air conditioner is fighting against you, purposely malfunctioning on the hottest day yet, just to get a good laugh. Learn how to troubleshoot air conditioning problems before they become problems!

DIY troubleshooting air conditioning

We’ve put together a list of several of the most common air conditioning problems and how to troubleshoot them. Some of these should by default be left to a certified technician, and we’ll be sure to let you know which ones.

Should you experience any trouble while attempting to troubleshoot air conditioning problems or don’t feel comfortable working on your unit altogether, leave the work to a licensed, trained HVAC professional as you wouldn’t want to cause any further damage to your system.

How to Troubleshoot Air Conditioning Problems

1. Faulty Installation/Improper Sizing

Proper sizing and a precise installation is of the utmost importance when it comes to installing an HVAC unit. A possible indication that your unit wasn’t installed correctly is if it short cycles or if your home never feels cool enough.

If this is the case, have an expert inspect the entire system and ensure that your unit is cooling efficiently. The size of your unit is dependent on the square footage of your home that needs cooling. To give you a better indication, Energy Star has put together a A/C Sizing Chart:

troubleshooting air conditioning problems

2. Low on Refrigerant

If your unit is low on refrigerant, it means that it was improperly charged or you have a leak. In both cases, it’s imperative that you call a technician as soon as possible to inspect the issue, making any necessary repairs and/or charging the system correctly.

It is not as simple as adding more Freon; if your have a leak, you need to schedule air conditioner repair immediately. Beware of HVAC companies that only refill your refrigerant without addressing the underlying leak problem.

3. Inadequate Maintenance

How well your HVAC unit functions is entirely dependent on how often you schedule professional maintenance. You wouldn’t neglect your car for years on end, so why neglect your HVAC unit? Much like your car, your HVAC unit has numerous parts and components that need cleaning and adjusting annually so that it can operate at maximum efficiency.

Life is often fast paced, with work and/or classes, having to take care of the kids and keep the house clean, prepare dinner, etc. It seems like sometimes there isn’t a moment to spare. Scheduling a tune-up for your unit is the last thing on your mind right now.

The easiest solution is to join a maintenance program; that way, it isn’t your job to remember to schedule your appointment! They’ll do it for you at your easiest convenience.

Call Larry & Sons now to talk to someone about joining our HVAC maintenance program! We’re here to make life just a little bit easier – and ensure comfort.

4. Poor Airflow

If your home isn’t as cool as you’d like to be, there are a few things you can do before calling in an expert. Put it on your chore list to vacuum vents regularly as this will cleanse your vents of all the dirt and debris that could be blocking airflow. Clear away anything that could be blocking airflow, such as furniture, rugs, drapes, etc.

If you really want to improve indoor air quality and home energy efficiency, your best bet is to have your air ducts professionally cleaned every 5-7 years.

5. Change Your Air Filter

One of the most important things you can do to ensure proper airflow is by changing the air filters regularly. While our technicians can change your air filter when performing maintenance, that’s just twice a year.

troubleshoot air conditioning air filter

On average, you should change your filters every 1-3 months to ensure a healthy flow. Forgoing changing the air filter will lead to poor indoor air quality, uneven heating and cooling, short cycling, strain on your system, and a buildup of dust and dirt on your HVAC fan blades and around vents. Put reminders in your phone and calendar so you never forget.

We recommend using HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filters. Although they cost more, they do a better job of filtering your indoor air and last a lot longer,

At Larry & Sons, we want our customer to get a refreshing respite from summer’s blistering heat. If you find yourself without cool air and can’t seem to tackle the problem, big or small, give us a call at 301-733-5428.

You can also keep in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!

How to Cut Cooling Costs This Summer | Top 5 Tips

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With temperatures nearing the 90s, life without an air conditioner seems downright impossible. Reduce your cooling costs this summer by utilizing these useful techniques! You’ll thank us later.’

How to Cut Cooling Costs

Install a programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat will allow you to pre-set desired temperatures. This is especially useful for when you’re away at work or asleep. Now, you never have to worry again about forgetting to adjust the temperature back to normal.

For noticeable savings, we recommend setting your thermostat to a higher temperature when you’re away. Set your thermostat to 78 degrees only when you are home and in need of cooling. When it comes to cooling costs, every degree counts.

Take advantage of ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are great way to reduce cooling costs when the temperatures are mild, as they use significantly less energy than an air conditioning unit. However, it’s important to remember that ceiling fans don’t cool rooms, they cool skin. So always remember to turn them off whenever you leave a room. Otherwise, you’re only wasting energy.

Schedule regular tune-ups

Tune-ups were designed to help customers avoid spending money on frequent, costly repairs and to ensure their system is running at optimal efficiency. Take advantage of these services as they will help you and your family keep cool all summer long.

Additionally, regular tune-ups will increase the lifespan of your system, saving your from having to replace your system before you’re ready to. If you haven’t already, schedule your annual AC tune-up with Larry & Sons today!

Change air filters regularly

Your air filters should be changed at minimum every 1-3 months. After a while, your filters get jam packed with dirt, dust and debris, and if you don’t want that affecting your indoor air quality, then regularly change your air filters.

In addition to poor indoor air quality, a filter that isn’t regularly changed can lead to malfunctions and breakdowns in your unit. If your air conditioner won’t turn on or shows signs of freezing, always check your air filter first. Set calendar and phone reminders so you never forget again.

Seal leaks

Conduct a leak inspection in your home to locate all the places where air is leaking. Caulking and weatherstripping are two easy yet effective ways to put a stop to air leaks.

Caulking is generally used for small cracks and openings around doors and window frames, and weatherstripping is typically used to seal doors and windows.

You can also seal your air ducts with mastic sealant or aluminum foil tape to improve the airflow of your heating and air conditioning system, as well as save money and improve indoor air quality. After every major insulation project, however, always consult with your local professional HVAC company for proper ventilation.

To further save and add comfort and peace of mind, we highly recommend signing up for Larry & Sons Maintenance Program, which ensures two annual heating and air conditioning tune-ups, 15 % off all repairs, and much more!

For more tips and tricks on cutting home cooling costs, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+! Got a question? We’ve got the answer!

Top 10 Green Tips to Save Money and the Planet

Happy Earth Day!

Although every day should be Earth Day, we are celebrating today by recognizing areas in the home for energy-efficient improvements. Since everybody is leading full, busy lives, we wanted to provide practical, actionable advice for creating an energy-efficient home. Don’t delay, go green today!

Top 10 Green Tips for the Home

Top 10 Green Tips to Save Money and the Planet

  1. Schedule your annual HVAC tune-up to ensure you are using the minimum amount of energy to effectively heat and cool your home.
  2. Check your air filters every month. Write the date on the filter itself so you know when you last replaced it. We also recommend setting monthly reminders so you never forget. Replacing dirty air filters will significantly reduce the workload on your HVAC system and improve the quality of your indoor air. It’s a win-win!
  3. Use a programmable thermostat for maximum savings. We recommend setting the thermostat to 78°F while at home and 80°F or higher when away from home. According to, raising the thermostat setting in the summer or lowering it in the winter by just 1°F for a period of 8 hours will save you 1% on your energy bill. Those savings add up!
  4. Check your home for air leaks and replace any old weatherstripping and caulking. Don’t forget to seal your air ducts, which lose, on average, about 20% of your home’s conditioned air. You can hold a piece of toilet paper or incense stick around areas where you suspect a leak. Watch this video to learn how to find air leaks and insulate your home:

  • Close drapes and curtains while the sun is out and open some windows at night to take advantage of the cool outside air. Just remember to close them again in the morning! Also, consider purchasing solar screens and insulating drapes for more protection against solar heat gain.
  • Turn down your water heater temperature from the standard 140°F to a more energy-efficient, but still hot enough 120°F. Not only will you save money and energy on water heating costs, but you will also reduce the risk of burns and scalding, especially important in homes with young children. Consider also purchasing water heater insulation blankets for your water heat tank.
  • Cook hot meals at night when the temperatures are lower. Instead of using your oven, consider alternative cooking methods that produce less heat and use less energy like microwaves, toaster ovens, and slow cookers. This is the time to learn about some cooler, plant-based meals that you can enjoy in warmer weather.
  • Make sure your fireplace flue damper is fully closed and sealed unless you have a fire burning. Check the seals around the damper and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible. You don’t want your precious conditioned air escaping out the chimney.
  • Plant trees and shrubs around the perimeter of your home and in front of sun-facing windows to provide energy-saving shade from the sun.
  • Check your water meter for water leaks. The average U.S. home has water leaks that amount to more than 10,000 gallons of wasted water every year. Let’s do our part by fixing those leaks as soon as possible. If you are having trouble detecting or repairing your plumbing leaks, give Larry & Sons a call. We’d be glad to help! Click here to learn how to find and read your water meter for leaks. Click here to learn how to fix a leaking or running toilet.
  • For more Green Tips you can start implementing today to save money and the planet, read our previous posts:

    If you needed any more convincing for taking action this Earth Day, watch Morgan Freeman narrate “What’s Possible,” for the UN Climate Summit:

    For over 55 years, Larry & Sons has been serving your home heating and cooling needs in the great Hagerstown, Maryland area. Contact us for an expert able perform nearly any home service you need. We offer installation, repair, and maintenance of heating, air conditioning, geothermal, solar and indoor air quality systems. We service all makes and models, even if we didn’t install your system to begin with.

    We are also full–service plumbers, offering water heater repair and installation, sewer and drain services and water treatment systems.

    For more information on how to lower your heating bill, give us a call at 301-733-5428. We’d be glad to answer all of your questions.

    To further save and reduce your impact on the environment, we highly recommend signing up for a maintenance plan that ensures 2 annual heating and air conditioning tune-ups, 15 % off all repairs, and much more! Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and how-to’s.

    Happy Earth Day! It’s Our Turn to Lead!

    5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Heating Bill

    With the winter weather and subfreezing temperatures in your Hagerstown-area, you’ve probably been spending more time indoors, which is reflected in your utility bill every month. Learn how to lower your heating bill.

    Larry & Sons Lower Your Heating Bill

    Larry & Sons Lower Your Heating BillTo help you curb those rising costs, here are 5 easy and effective ways to maximize the efficiency of your heating system and lower your heating bill by a significant amount:

    1. Check and/or change your air filter every 30 days

    With all of our smart phones, calendars, and to-do lists, it should be easy to set a reminder to check your furnace filter every 30 days. Sometimes dirty air filters can block so much air flow that your furnace will struggle to even turn on. Make sure you insert the filter in the right way and follow the manufacturer instructions. Some filters just need to be hosed down for instance, rather than needing to be replaced.

    The other essential maintenance you need to keep your heating system at optimum performance and efficiency is to schedule furnace and air conditioning maintenance every year. Most manufacturer warranties even require this regular maintenance for the warranty to remain valid. This is because HVAC systems, like cars, need regular check-ups and tune-ups to remain effective. Signing up for a maintenance plan ensures that you will receive the care for your heating and cooling systems necessary for warranty eligibility. These plans also offer priority service, huge discounts, and will contact you for service so you don’t have to remember. Your HVAC technician will also make sure that you have a clean air filter before they leave!

    2. Install a “smart” or programmable thermostat

    If you do not have a programmable thermostat, consider keeping your thermostat setting at 68 degrees during the winter and lower while you are away from your home or asleep. You can save up to 1% on your heating bill for every 1 degree you turn down the thermostat (if it remains at that setting for 8 hours or more).

    Look at these reviews for “smart” thermostats that learn your family’s heating and cooling patterns, such as Nest, Hive, Tado, and Honeywell Evohome.

    For more information on thermostats and maintaining an energy efficient home, visit

    3. Open blinds when it is sunny and close them when it’s not

    Take advantage of the natural heat the sun provides to give your heating system some support. You’ll be surprised by how much this makes a difference. Remember to close the at night to prevent heat from escaping through your windows. Also, consider purchasing insulating or “thermal” curtains/blinds as seen on this Bed Bath & Beyond page.

    4. Add insulation

    The more insulation and sealed air leaks that you have, the more your precious conditioned air stays where it is supposed to. The areas of your home that could benefit most from insulation is your attic, basement, crawl spaces, and walls. Insulating your home is no small task. You may want to hire a professional to do it. If, however, you are the DIY type, visit this Family Handyman page for all the information you need for professionally adding attic insulation to your home. From there you can find out more about insulating the other areas in your home.

    The best way that you can discover where in your home you are losing the most energy, schedule a home energy audit with Larry & Sons.

    Our energy audits can help address the following issues:

    • Poor insulation
    • Leaky ductwork
    • Inefficient heating system
    • Drafty areas or cold spots
    • Need for better ventilation
    • Moisture control issues

    If you are interested in a home energy audit in Hagerstown, call Larry & Sons. We can schedule an appointment with you at your earliest convenience.

    5. Seal air leaks

    Remember that caulking can go along way. Tubes typically cost less than $8 and will save you huge amounts on your heating bill. If you want to lower your heating bill on the cheap, a great place to start is weatherstripping your doors and windows and caulking your any gaps near your windows, ceilings, doors, attic, basement, wiring, piping, or other areas where utilities enter or leave your home. Use an incense or smoke stick and hold it up to areas where you suspect an air leak. If the smoke moves, you have an air leak. You can also use a sheet of toilet paper.

    For cracks and gaps smaller than a quarter of an inch, use weatherproof caulk. For gaps greater than a quarter of an inch, use expandable foam spray.

    Also, remember to seal your air ducts with mastic and mesh tape. For professional duct sealing services in the Hagerstown and Frederick, Maryland areas, visit Larry & Sons Duct Sealing page.

    For over 55 years, Larry & Sons has been serving your home heating and cooling needs in the great Hagerstown, Maryland area. Contact us for an expert able perform nearly any home service you need. We offer installation, repair and maintenance of heating, air conditioning, geothermal, solar and indoor air quality systems. We service all makes and models, even if we didn’t install your system to begin with.

    We are also full–service plumbers, offering water heater repair and installation, sewer and drain services and water treatment systems.

    For more information on how to lower your heating bill, give us a call at 301-733-5428. We’d be glad to answer all of your questions.

    With our maintenance plan, we’ll remind you of your annual tune-up, provide 15 % off all repairs, and much more!Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and how-to’s.