If your room or window air conditioner doesn’t cool or turn on, this expert guide to AC repairs will help.
Most problems with window and room air conditioners can be categorized under one of two symptoms: they do not cool sufficiently or they do not turn on at all. Here is a closer look at how to troubleshoot and repair these issues.
A window or room air conditioner that doesn’t cool may need to be recharged with refrigerant, but the chances are good it simply needs to be cleaned. You can do this yourself, which involves disassembling the unit, or you can call an air-conditioning professional. Before attempting the work yourself, consult your owner’s manual and make sure you have the right skills and tools to handle the task. Here is what a typical manual advises:
1Unplug the unit and carefully remove it from the window or wall. Put the air conditioner somewhere outdoors or in the garage where you can work on it.
2Remove the grille and filter and unscrew the metal case (taking care not to damage the coil’s fins).
3Wash the filter thoroughly or replace it with a new filter; most filters are readily available at most appliance stores.
4Using a vacuum with a soft brush attachment, clean the coil’s fins.
5Spray water back through the fins from the fan side (protect the wiring and the motor with plastic).
6Clean the unit up with a rag, making sure all drains that allow condensed water to drip away from the unit are open. Allow it to dry thoroughly.
7Lubrication. While you have the unit apart, lubricate the motor according to your owner’s manual.
8Finally, reassemble and reinstall the unit.
Window and room air conditioners draw a lot of electrical power, which can lead to less than peak performance or even complete failure. If your room air conditioner doesn’t turn on:
1Be sure the unit is plugged in and turned on.
2Check that the outlet works by plugging in a light that works (only for standard-voltage models—do not plug a light into a 220/240- volt receptacle).
3If the light doesn’t go on, the circuit has probably overloaded—check the electric panel or fuse box and reset the breaker or replace the fuse.
4If the light works, it’s likely that the air conditioner’s switch is faulty or the thermostat needs adjustment or repair.
5Be sure the thermostat is set to “cool” and below room temperature.
6Refer to the owner’s manual for thermostat repair. If repairing the thermostat doesn’t solve the problem, unplug the unit and call an air conditioner repair person.
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