Your go-to guide on how to check and repair a central air conditioner.

Your home's air conditioning system is arguably its most important element. It goes without saying that this is doubly true during the hotter months. If your unit goes awry, you may begin to wonder how to repair a central air conditioner without calling a specialist.

With air conditioner prices  running from hundreds of dollars to thousands, replacing a home cooling system can be a financial nightmare. Although it can be useful to know when your unit needs repair, most repairs should be addressed by a qualified HVAC technician. In fact, you can void the warranty on your unit simply by attempting a repair on the unit. It can also be unsafe to attempt a repair by yourself.


QualitySmith is a great resource for finding a HVAC technician in your area to repair your existing unit, or even to provide you with an air conditioner estimate to install a new air conditioner in your home.

The first step in determining how to repair a central air conditioner is finding out what is wrong with the unit in the first place. You can do a bit of troubleshooting on your unit to discern what the problem may be and whether or not you need to request a service call.

Begin by cleaning away any collected debris from the outdoor condensing unit. This is usually leaves that have blown onto the unit over the course of time. Keep in mind that your unit must be able to draw air in, so if the air flow to the unit is blocked with debris, it will not work efficiently.

Repair A Central Air ConditionerYou can also take off the cover of the air conditioning unit to see if the condenser's fins are dirty. If so, you can use a soft brush to clean the dirt away. A garden hose can be used to spray the fins.

Disconnect the power from the unit and remove the top cover to visually inspect the blades of the unit's fan. This step may require the use of a Philips screwdriver to loosen up the screws holding the cover into position. Again, use a soft brush to clean away any dirt.

A standard vacuum can be useful for sucking up any excess debris from the inside of the central air conditioning unit.

After these steps are completed, replace the covers, and then reconnect the unit to your power source. Turn the AC back on and wait a few minutes to see if it begins to blow cold air.

You may find yourself wondering how to repair a central air conditioner that is frozen. This happens when moisture freezes around the unit and keeps it from taking in the air it needs.

A lot of different things can cause the central air to freeze over. When it does, it is generally a good sign that your unit needs to be serviced by a professional.

Usually, waiting for the air conditioner to thaw out or helping it along with a heater can help to remedy the situation temporarily. But getting to the root of what is causing the problem is the only way to keep it from happening again.

As a rule of thumb, most people should not conduct repairs on a central air conditioner and should call out a HVAC contractor instead. You may believe you know how to repair a central air conditioner, but you could end up costing yourself more money in the long run by damaging the unit and even injuring yourself.