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.

This doesn’t, however, replace the need for a professional duct cleaning. 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+!

Frederick HVAC Tip: Why Routine Maintenance Improves IAQ

Furnaces and air conditioners in Frederick are by far the most common way to circulate air throughout homes, offices and institutions, heating in the winter months and cooling in the summer.  Adjust the thermostat and controlled air is delivered almost immediately.

If a system is not regularly and properly maintained, however, that air can be dirty, dusty and full of odor, having passed through the heat exchanger, filters and ductwork that have accumulated a build-up of residue over time.  IAQ or interior air quality quickly deteriorates.

The Basics

HVAC systems heat or cool air at a central point, often a furnace in the basement.  The air passes through filters to sift out dust and unwanted particles, then travels through a system of ductwork to be delivered to the space.  Return air ducts bring it back to the central point.

Along the way, the air accumulates the dust, germs and debris of the places it inhabits.  Over time, the filters become clogged and eventually contribute more contamination to the processed air than they can clean.  The enclosed and hard to reach ducts are also deposits of dust and decorated with spider webs that are quickly another form of filter that gives back more than it receives.

The Costs

Without routine maintenance, the system runs poorly and distributes more dirt into the living space than it is able to filter and clean, reducing the quality of life for the inhabitants.  Poor air quality can lead to serious health issues as well as the loss of time.

Not only does the quality of the air decrease, the strain on the system lowers efficiency.  Having to work harder consumes more energy, creating an immediate and noticeable rise in utility bills.  The stress also reduces the lifetime of the system and requires more rapid replacements of parts or the entire furnace, a huge financial cost.

Regular Maintenance is the Easy Solution

To maintain high levels of quality air, it is essential to schedule regular replacements of filters and a clean-out of the ducts.  The filters are accessible as part of the furnace and air conditioners and easily swapped out by the home owner once or (better) twice a year.

Ductwork, however, is enclosed and often out of site, just as easily out of mind and certainly harder to reach.  Scheduling a duct-cleaning along with an inspection and routine maintenance of the entire system with a licensed Frederick  HVAC company such as Larry & Sons ensures longevity and efficiency along with peace of mind.

Key Components for Annual Maintenance of Your HVAC System: A Guide From Martinsburg

Annual service checkups are an important component of your HVAC system’s ongoing operation in your Martinsburg home. Without these checkups, the system may not run properly when the hottest days of the summer are upon you. While there are some tasks you can perform yourself, most of the vital maintenance tasks need to be performed by a professional annually.

As you look for a contractor to perform your annual maintenance, make sure you find someone who will perform each of the most important tasks listed below for your system each year:

  • Electrical Connections – These should be tightened, tested and replaced as necessary.
  • Thermostat – A professional thermostat calibration ensures the system runs at the right temperature throughout the summer.
  • Control Panel – The control panel is checked for error codes and recalibrated to ensure it continues running as intended for another year.
  • Blower Parts – The fan and motor are checked and serviced as needed. Replacement parts are installed.
  • Condenser Coils and Evaporator – Both are cleaned and checked for signs of wear. Any bent coils are repaired.
  • Gas Connections – An inspection of your gas lines, if applicable, is made. Additionally, if you have electrical components, they will be checked for damage.
  • Exchanger and Combustion Components – If you have a packaged system, these are checked for the entire system.
  • Refrigerant Check – If you have a refrigerant filled air conditioning system, it will be checked to ensure levels are high enough for another summer.
  • Air Filters – While you can do this yourself each month, a professional will check permanent and replaceable filters for wear and tear.
  • Moving Parts – All moving parts are inspected, oiled, and checked for damage. If a part needs replacement it is done now to avoid future problems.

Good annual maintenance is necessary to keep your system running smoothly year round. While there are plenty of cleaning tasks you can perform each month, the most important tasks are those performed by your contractor.

If you are interested in learning more about how maintenance will be performed on your system, call your local contractor today.