The Ultimate Guide to DIY AC Repair
Knowing how to diagnose your AC and fix the problems can save you a lot of money. But before you try it, ensure you have the right equipment and tools. If your AC has some parts that need replacement, you must also have the right parts. (Image Credit: Freepik)
If you don’t know about troubleshooting AC failures and you don’t have the required tools and parts, it would be wise to hire a professional, licensed HVAC expert to help you.
Do you want to Repair your AC on your Own?
Here are the tools you’ll need:
- Quarter-inch nut driver
- Multimeter or voltage tester
- Screwdriver set (insulated)
- Socket set
- Needle-nose pliers
- Cordless drill
- Adjustable wrench
- Channel locks (slip-joint pliers)
The tools you’ll need will depend on the problem at hand, so you may not have to use all the tools listed above. However, it’s good to have all of them so you can handle any AC problems whenever it arises.
If your AC system needs a part for replacement, here is a list of materials and components that you’ll likely need:
- Breakers or fuses
- The contactor (to order this, you need a specific serial number and unit model)
- Compressed air or water hose
- Capacitor (to order this, you have to know the serial number and unit model)
- Condenser fan motor (to order this, you must know the serial number and unit model)
Just like with tools, you may not have to use all the materials and parts listed above. The ones you’ll need will depend on the problem with your AC.
Remember, your work will be centered on electricity and high-pressure, so you need to be extra careful. Let’s have a look at some common air conditioner failures and how you can fix them on your own. Check out Galveston AC Repair for more if you want an instant ac repair.
Common DIY Repairs for AC
If your AC is on, but the house isn’t cooling, the suspect could be the air handler (or furnace). But that isn’t the only suspect. Many things can go wrong with your air conditioner. There are some problems you can solve by yourself, but some can be too technical. Here are the common DIY repairs for air conditioners:
- Checking the fan and the thermostat
- Checking for ice buildup in the condenser, contacts, and electrical connections
- Replacing capacitors
- Checking the level of the refrigerant and topping it up
- Checking whether the vents are working and replacing clogged or dirty filters
- Testing fuses
- Inspecting for broken or chewed wiring
The DIY repair works are relatively simple, meaning you can restore your AC system very fast. However, ensure you do everything right.
How to Replace the Fan Motor
If the problem is with your air conditioner fan motor, the system may not drive off hot air. You can follow the below steps to replace the motor.
- Disconnect the power.
- Check the fan motor information for horsepower, shaft size, rotation direction, rpm speed, operating voltage, and diameter. This is to help you buy the right replacement.
- Get rid of the old fan and motor.
- Take note of the orientation and direction of the fan before removing the motor. Also, note the wire colors plus where they are supposed to be connected.
- Mount your new fan – this is easy to do if you can remember how you removed the old fan; it is a reverse procedure. Ensure all the wires are connected to their rightful places.
- Center the fan blades properly.
- Turn the system on to test it after you are done.
How to Install a Condenser
Installing a condenser may sound overwhelming, but you can do it. This is because a condenser is a self-contained unit. Meaning all you need to is to unbolt and unscrew the unit and disconnect the wires. However, you have to be extra careful with a condenser because it’s a little complicated. This is what you need to do.
- Disconnect the power
- Note the physical dimensions, HVAC load, and the damaged unit model to ensure you buy the right thing.
- Be careful not to release the refrigerant into the atmosphere, as this might get you on the wrong side of the law. Instead, you can use a refrigerant recovery system.
- Unbolt and unscrew old condenser. After that, you can cut all the old lines to ensure moisture doesn’t get into the new lines.
- Tighten the connectors and fasteners on your new unit
- Install your new condenser, then tighten it.
- Install the liquid and suction lines to the condenser
- Add pressure to the lines using nitrogen (an inert gas).
- Use soapy water to coat all the lines and leave it for about 60 minutes to help you detect any bubbles and leaks and confirm if there’s no leakage by checking the level of pressure.
- After you’ve confirmed there’s no leakage, cover the lines using insulation such as foam pipe.
- Vent the nitrogen, then attach the lines
- Use a vacuum pump to remove moisture from the lines – you can let the vacuum pump run for about 20 minutes.
- Use a refrigerant gas to fill the system until the pressure reaches the recommended level.
- Switch the power on to test your system.
How to Clean the Air Conditioner Coils
Some AC systems have both outdoor and indoor elements. Both elements have coils that may get dirty and prevent the air conditioner from cooling your house. To clean the coils:
- Switch off the power
- Locate the condensing and evaporator coils if you have the outdoor unit.
- Buy select chemicals for cleaning coils, then use a wet-dry vacuum pump for the cleaning process.
- You can as well drive off accumulated dirt using compressed air.
- The household foaming cleaners can also be used to clean coils, especially if the dirt is caked and heavy.
Apart from the fan motor, the condenser, and the coils, your AC system may not work because of faulty capacitors, fuses, or wiring. These are simple parts that you can easily replace.
Once you diagnose your system and confirm they cause the problem, you’ll have to buy a replacement and fix it. Whatever replacement you buy, ensure it is of the right brand and specification.
AC repair works aren’t as easy as they may sound. Additionally, buying the replacement parts also cost a lot of money. The best way around this is to ensure your AC system is maintained correctly. Keep checking the system once in a while to ensure all the parts are performing as expected. Check the water backup, the wires, refrigerant level, filters, etc., during your routine inspection. Being proactive will save you money and time and also increase the lifespan of your air conditioner.