If you live in the St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Tampa Bay area, you are no doubt already experiencing the notorious summer heat and humidity. And if your air conditioning (AC) system is not cooling your home—or you haven’t had AC maintenance recently—it’s time to look into the issue.
Our licensed and trained AC technicians at Air Care are always here to help, and there’s also a few steps and preventative measures you can take on your own to ensure your system is up and running this Florida summer.
Today, we’re sharing our four do-it-yourself (DIY) AC fixes and tips you can perform on your AC. Read on to learn more.
But First: Has your AC Stopped Working?
If your cooling system has stopped working altogether, it’s a good idea to check the power source first. Here are a few places to start:
- Check your thermostat settings to ensure your system is “On” and that your thermostat batteries are not low or dead.
- Check that your system is receiving power from the electrical panel. Locate your circuit breaker (usually in a hallway, hallway closet or garage), and reset the switch labeled for your AC equipment.
- Check the condensate switch on your unit.
If you’re unable to restart your system or locate the problem on your own, contact our Clearwater AC technicians at Air Care for assistance.
Does Your AC System Run, But Not Cool?
“My AC is running, but not blowing out cold air.” This is a common complaint we often hear from Tampa Bay Area customers during the warm summer months. Luckily, there are a few culprits and easy fixes to get your AC system back in shape.
Inspect Your Air Filter
We’ve said it many times before, and we’ll say it again: a clean AC filter improves the air quality and airflow in your home. When a dirty filter is filled with dust and debris, it constricts the natural flow of air and can leave your home feeling hot and muggy.
Check your air filter at least once a month and replace it when necessary. Make sure your filter also properly fits inside your air handler to prevent unnecessary particles from entering into your system. The size of your filter is usually listed on the manufacturer’s sticker on your unit; if not, you can easily measure the opening to ensure the right fit.
Maintain a Clean Condensate Drain
Your AC system not only cools your home, but also removes moisture from the air and improves the humidity level. The condensate drain helps this process.
The condensate drain is connected to the indoor air handler, and any time excess water is collected from your AC system, it’s then drained through a small pipe to the outside of your home.
A normal, clean drain line should drip near the outdoor access point onto the ground; during the hot Florida summer months, this can even be more of a trickle or stream. Over time, the drain line can get clogged with mold and mildew. If your drain pan is filled with water, it’s a good sign your drain line is blocked.
When this happens, the excess water from your AC is unable to drain as it should, which can leave your house feeling warmer and muggy inside instead of cool and dry.
But, here’s good news: maintaining a clean drain line is simple. Here’s how:
- First, turn off the power to your AC system using the thermostat.
- Locate the outdoor drain line, which is usually a narrow PVC pipe near the outside condenser unit.
- Identify the indoor drain line access point that’s covered by a cap. Remove the cap, and check if it appears to be clogged.
- Using a funnel, add ¼ cup of distilled white vinegar to the indoor condensate drain, and let the solution sit for approximately 30 minutes. The acidity of the distilled vinegar will work to remove buildup in the drain line. If you don’t have white vinegar, you can also use hydrogen peroxide or hot water with a dash of dish soap.
- After 30 minutes, flush the indoor drain line out with water to clear the clog and ensure the condensate drain is working as it should. You’ll know it’s unclogged if excess water and/or buildup comes out of the outdoor drain line.
- Repeat once a month to ensure your AC system operates properly to cool your home.
Does your drain line still seem to be clogged? Our team at Air Care can handle more major clogs that require a wet vacuum and additional maintenance and repair. Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.
Check for Frozen Evaporator Coils
Over the Florida summer season, you may run into a common AC issue: frozen evaporator coils. This can happen when airflow is restricted within your unit and does not warm the coils like it should, causing ice to form.
While a dirty air filter or restricted airflow within your ductwork can lead to frozen evaporator coils, this issue is commonly caused by low refrigerant levels or leaks. All air conditioners require refrigerant, also known as freon, to operate. When a leak or low levels are present, the pressure of your system can drop and cause the coils to freeze up.
Here’s how to troubleshoot the problem:
- Turn off the power to your AC system from the thermostat.
- Remove the front cover of your air handler to inspect the evaporator coils.
- If ice is present on the coils, turn on the “Fan” mode from the thermostat. This will allow warmer air to move over the coils and unfreeze any ice that’s formed. Depending on the amount of ice, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to unfreeze completely, so be patient.
- Once unfrozen, adjust your thermostat from “Fan” to “Cool.” As your AC equipment works to cool down your home, check if the coils freeze again.
- When finished, replace the cover.
If the AC system evaporator coils continue to freeze, you may need a professional coil cleaning, freon refill or refrigerant leak repair. Always seek professional help for these AC issues.
Contact our trained technicians at Air Care for assistance.
Clean Your Outside AC Unit
The outside AC unit—also called the AC condenser—is made up of a compressor, fan, wires, tubes and cooling fins (the fine metallic blades that surround the unit).
The outdoor AC condenser works in tandem with your indoor evaporator components to move the warm and humid air from inside your home to the outside—where it belongs. Excess debris inside and around your outdoor AC unit can sometimes cause your system to work improperly and impede airflow.
Luckily, there are a few ways to clean your outdoor AC unit with the right tools and steps below:
- First, turn off the power to your system from the electrical panel.
- Outside the unit: If plants, grass and/or weeds are growing too close to your condenser, trim or cut them back to create at least two feet of cleared space around your unit.
- Outside the unit: Using a shop vacuum and soft brush attachment, vacuum away excess dirt, debris and grass clippings from the exterior fins of your unit.
- Inside the unit: Using a screwdriver, remove the top grill of the condenser, lift out the fan and carefully set it aside without putting stress on the electrical wires. Pull out any loose leaves and debris, and if necessary, vacuum and wipe down the interior surface with a damp cloth.
- Inside the unit: Using a hose and moderate water pressure, clean the fins with water from the interior of your unit out. Allow time for the fins to dry completely.
- Once the unit is clean and dry, carefully replace the electrical wires, fan and grill, and ensure all components are properly secured in place.
- Turn your system back on.
Homes near the Clearwater, Bellair and St. Petersburg beaches often experience rusting on and around the AC condenser unit fan, wires and fins. If rusting or difficult debris appears to affect airflow to your unit, contact Air Care today.
Trust Us for All Your AC Maintenance and Repairs
You should never neglect AC maintenance and repairs. At Air Care, we recommend bi-annual AC tune-ups to prevent system breakdowns and avoid many of the common issues mentioned above—ultimately keeping your Florida home cool throughout every season.
To schedule an appointment or request AC repairs or a total system replacement, contact Air Care today.
“When I called Air Care to give me a consult, the AC repair tech who came to my house did such a good job and gave me such a great price quote that I could not wait to hire them. He gave me excellent service in both his quote and repair itself! If all Air Care’s projects are like that, then they have got to be the best AC repair contractors in Clearwater!” – Shannon from Clearwater, FL
Need AC service? Contact Air Care today.
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