Repair or Replace: What to Do When Your AC Stops Working

Do you need air conditioner repair or HVAC replacement?

air conditoning repair, HVAC

It usually happens on the hottest day of summer. We know, because it happens to our families too. One minute you’re reading the morning newspaper online, drinking your coffee, and then you notice the terrible truth: your air conditioning appears to be completely nonfunctional.

Uh oh!

The truth is that usually it’s fixable. Sometimes it’s not, but in most cases simply running through a list of equipment checks is enough to determine the problem, and repair. For example:

Is your thermostat low on battery or completely dead? When the thermostat isn’t working, the system won’t heat or cool. If your thermostat shows a black screen when you go to set the temp, try changing its batteries. If that’s the issue, everything will go back to normal quicker than you can say “Double A.”

Did you blow a fuse? Check your circuit breaker box outside. It’s entirely possible that an electrical issue, common on hot days, overloaded the circuits and stopped the power from flowing normally to your unit. If that’s the problem, a simple reset of the circuit breakers is all it will take to get the system running again.

Do you have broken condenser blades or debris in the condenser itself, preventing it from working? It’s worth a quick check to see what’s happening to your outside unit. Sometimes leaf debris, fallen branches or yard furniture/toys can get inside the condenser and either damage the blades or block its operation entirely.

The next few possibilities will require a maintenance technician to verify, but if they are the cause of your HVAC issues, they can usually be fixed pretty quickly.

Do you have a refrigerant leak or is your system out of refrigerant entirely? If you can’t remember the last time you had your HVAC serviced, this could very well be the problem. Your system requires refrigerant to run properly, and without it, functioning will come to a halt. Topping off the refrigerant in your unit is often a part of an annual maintenance service, and checking its level definitely is.

Without regular maintenance, think of your HVAC as being like a car going too long between oil changes. It gradually runs down, until the system stops completely. A refrigerant leak will do the same thing. Like oil too, refrigerant is harmful to the environment. If you’ve got a puddle from a leak, you’ll need your licensed HVAC tech to seal up the fissure and dispose of the liquid responsibly. Once your air conditioning system has normal levels again, cooling should return to normal.

Is your coil frozen? This is a result of poor airflow, whether caused by a problem in your ductwork or even dirty filters. Your system can’t work properly with a frozen coil, but the problem is usually quite solvable with further investigation as to the cause.

The bottom line is: don’t panic if your system breaks down. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need new HVAC.   Take a look at your air conditioning equipment, or call us to do it. Either way, we have cost-effective solutions to keep you cool.


Indoor comfort is our specialty. Call Air-Tro today to find out why we’re the number one HVAC company in the Southland, handling all your heating and air conditioning needs. (626) 357-3535.