How to Troubleshoot Your AC Issues

Our Tips Help You Keep Your Cool Even When AC Is Acting Up

Air conditioner giving you trouble? While you can always jump straight to calling a professional, it’s annoying to go to the effort and then find out a few minutes of troubleshooting could have solved your problem. So today, we’ll look at a few basic troubleshooting tips anyone can put into practice when the AC acts up — and a few more tips for when the problem does require a professional, even if everything seems to be back to normal.


  • Check your thermostat settings. It’s easy to end up with your thermostat set higher or lower than you thought, especially if you have a fancier unit or other people have been messing with it. Double-check all of your settings, just to spare yourself the exasperation if that’s the problem.
  • Make sure your thermostat has fresh batteries. Speaking of thermostats, make sure your thermostat has batteries in good condition if it uses them. Many units will stop working correctly with very low batteries.
  • Check your air filter. Air filters are often the cause of air conditioner trouble and are easily fixable. If a filter has become so dirty and clogged that your unit can’t get enough air to work properly, it’s easy to fix with a replacement or a clean-up, whichever is appropriate for your type of filter.
  • Check the circuit breaker for your air conditioner. Your air conditioner should have a breaker in your panel box — make sure it hasn’t flipped, and if it has, flip it back. Make sure you check every panel if you have more than one in your home.
  • Make sure your vents aren’t visibly clogged or closed. It’s not uncommon for your vents to be the problem. The air conditioner itself may be in great shape — but the vents have trouble delivering that cool air to the rooms you want it in. Check to see if you have better airflow in some places or if you can see blockages or dust accumulated with a flashlight.
  • See if ice has formed. If your unit has frozen over, there’s probably a reason for it, like being dirty or problems with your drainage or evaporator coils. Leave your frozen unit alone to thaw out, and dry it out as best you can. If necessary, clean it up and look for drainage problems; if it’s not just dirty, you’ll need a pro to prevent this from happening again.

When Should You Call a Pro?

Just as there are easy problems you can definitely troubleshoot, there are other issues you probably want to leave to a professional even if they don’t seem like a big deal:

  • Repeated issues of any kind. Any problem that keeps cropping up demands professional attention, even if it’s just a maintenance check; you may be able to flip the breaker or thaw the system every time, but if the issue keeps happening, there’s a deeper problem at work.
  • Strange noises or smells from your HVAC. If your AC or other parts of your HVAC system start making weird noises or releasing strange smells, you should probably call a professional, even if it doesn’t bother you much.
  • Problems with the exterior unit of your AC. Messing with the exterior portion of your air conditioning system can quickly void your warranty, making things much more expensive if you need a professional.
  • Installation issues. If you notice anything that suggests your air conditioner was poorly installed, call a professional. You’ll deal with issues and risk dangerous electrical issues for years to come if you don’t call an expert technician to fix the issue.

If you do need professional help, don’t worry. Call the professionals at Wenbrooke at (240) 685-1174, and we’ll head over to assist you as soon as possible!