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AC Not Working? 7 Simple DIY Checks!

AC Not Working? 7 Simple DIY Checks!

AC not working?

We rely on a properly functioning AC system to get through the hazy, hot and humid Atlanta summers. In particular, on those incredibly balmy days or heat waves, if your AC is not working, then your home is almost unbearable.

How do you know if your AC unit is working at its full potential and running at peak efficiency?

Simple. There are a few DIY checks that you can do to ensure that your AC is working fine.

1. Listen to the AC

A well maintained and properly functioning air conditioning system is meant to run quietly and efficiently. If your AC is loud, then this is a good indicator that something is not right. Noisy AC units typically mean issues with the compressor motor or condenser fan, which can compromise the system's efficiency.

If your AC is noisy, then consider calling an HVAC expert to diagnose and fix the problem.

2. Replace the AC Air Filter

Let's be honest, when was the last time you thought about changing the AC air filter?

This simple maintenance is one of the single most important things you can do to keep your equipment running properly and efficiently. By changing the filter, it allows the system to breathe easier. Plus, a clean air filter helps your family breathe easier too!


The filter becomes dirty and clogged over time, which can cause airborne contaminants to enter your home through air ducts. This vital home maintenance takes only a few minutes and can be done by any homeowner.

If the filter is dirty your AC unit might run continually, but the temperature in your house may not cool down.

3. Inspect the Circuit Breaker

Occasionally, an overworked appliance can trip the circuit breaker.

If this is an issue in your home, flip it back and your unit should starting running again. If it trips a second time, then you may have a larger issue and should consider calling a professional for service.

4. Check the Outdoor Unit

Generally, most homeowners forget about their outdoor air condenser. Out of sight, out of mind.

However, the outdoor AC unit needs routine maintenance or at least the occasional "spot check" to ensure no weeds, debris or anything else is near the condenser.


The outside portion of your air conditioner or condenser unit is responsible for releasing heat from your inside air to the air outside. Without the condenser the heat that is removed from your home would have nowhere to go. And because the unit is outside, it is important the condenser remains free from the buildup of pollen, dirt and debris.

To check the outdoor unit, then listen for the fan because you should be able to see and hear the fan. If not, then there is likely a problem. Of course, the best thing you can do to keep your condenser unit performing in top shape is to have annual air conditioning maintenance.

5. Look For Water by the Drain Line

Is there any water surrounding the indoor AC unit? If there is any water, then that is a clear sign that the AC is not working properly.

Any water near the indoor AC unit generally means that the drain line is likely plugged and you need to have a professional AC technician inspect the air conditioner system.

6. Check the Thermostat

During the summer, a simple strategy is to keep your air conditioner working properly is to limit the amount of use. Obviously, this is not a recommendation if people or pets are home, but if the house is empty during the day, then keep the home temperature warmer than normal (around 78 degrees).

If there is an issue with the AC system, then always remember to check the thermostat because batteries do run low. Save yourself a lot of hassle and headache and check the thermostat for a battery symbol or light on your thermostat indicating the batteries need to be changed.

7. Check the Temperature

For older homes and AC systems, the external temperature can make a difference.


On those unbearably hot days, the temperature outside could be too intense for older systems to function at maximum efficiency and breakdown. If this is case, it could be time to make that repair or replace decision.

If this is the case, then consider the 50% rule:

Once you know the value of your system, if the cost to repair over replacing your HVAC system is LESS than half of its value and you have not had significant costs in repairing or maintaining it in the past, a repair might be easier on your bank account.

Upon completing these simple checks, it's possible you'll continue experiencing issues with the AC not working. If so, then it might be time to call a professional to help.

Plus, a home services company performs diagnostic testing of any AC issues and conducts a home energy checkup. As a result, homeowner identify other ways for saving on utilities around the home.


A home energy checkup pinpoints the heating and cooling inefficiencies in your home. Everything from air leaks to insufficient insulation will be evaluated. Homeowner learn about priority recommendations for solving issues and saving you money!