Is my air conditioner working properly? Here’s how to tell.

If you find yourself questioning if your air conditioning unit is working properly, chances are there might be a problem. Perhaps you seem to need to set the temperature lower and lower, but the house never feels cool. This can be highly frustrating for homeowners, especially when it’s brutally warm outside and all you want to do is come home to a cool house. 

If you’re not sure where to start to see if your unit is functioning correctly, you’re not alone! Most homeowners often do not know where to start to identify potential air conditioning problems. In this overview, we’ll provide some simple steps to do a basic assessment of your air conditioning unit. These steps will help you determine if the unit is working properly. 

Let’s start with some basic ways to check functionality:

Air Filter Inspection

Checking your air conditioning unit’s air filter is one place to start to make sure it is working properly. These filters should be regularly changed based on the instructions provided in your specific unit’s manual. Staying on top of changing air filters can make sure your unit can run properly and ensure you’re breathing in clean air.

Circuit Breaker Check

If your air conditioner seems to have stopped running altogether, take a look at your home’s circuit breaker. You may have blown a fuse or tripped something. This might be a fix as simple as resetting the circuit breaker to get your air conditioner running again.

Check Batteries on Thermostat

This may seem obvious, but can often be forgotten. Replacing the batteries on your thermostat could be the solution! Check to make sure your thermostat is not indicating a low battery warning or any flashing lights.

Consider the Weather

The hotter the weather outside, the harder your air conditioner will need to work to keep your home properly cooled. In older homes or older HVAC units, it may be struggling in the warm weather. This may indicate that you need to call a trusted professional for an AC tune-up, or perhaps your unit is on its way out entirely and will need to be replaced.

Thermometer Test

Another way to check the functionality of your air conditioning unit is to perform a simple thermometer test. For this air conditioning test, all you will need is a  simple probe-style thermometer.

First, make sure your air conditioning unit is on and running. In order to accurately assess your unit, you’ll need it to have been running for at least the past 15 minutes. Start by bumping the temperature down at least 10 degrees lower than the current temperature reading. For the next step, you’ll need to actually go down to the furnace.

Once you’re in front of the furnace, you’re going to want to identify the return and supply duct. In models with a filter, the return air will be before the filter, while the supply air will be after the filter. If your air conditioner has been serviced before, there is likely to already be a small hole that is large enough to insert the thermometer. If there is no existing hole, you may need to drill or punch out a small hole to do this.

After inserting the thermometer, you will need to wait for it to read the current temperature. Write down the temperature reading you get and then repeat this step again, but on the supply side. This simple thermometer test is a great way to get an idea of how well your air conditioner is functioning. Subtract the supply temperature you wrote down from the return temperature. Ideally, this number should be between an 18 and 22-degree difference.

If your temperature difference is larger or smaller than an 18 to 22-degree difference, this could indicate you are experiencing issues with your system. At this point, it is probably best to call a trusted professional to come to look at your air conditioning unit.

Get Your A/C system working again with Choate’s!

Are you concerned about the results of your thermometer test or the functionality of your air conditioning unit? Give us a call today at Choate’s HVAC. Our trusted technicians are experts in identifying potential problems with your air conditioning unit and addressing them promptly. We have been identifying and repairing HVAC issues in both residential and commercial settings in the Memphis region since 1958.

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