DIY Guide to Basic AC Repairs

DIY Guide to Basic AC Repairs

Air conditioning becomes necessary in many homes and offices as temperatures rise. But when your AC unit suddenly stops working, it can be frustrating and expensive to call a professional for repairs.

The good news is that many basic AC repairs can be done with a few tools and some basic knowledge. In this DIY guide, we’ll cover some common AC issues and how you can fix them yourself.

Understanding Your Air Conditioning System

An HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) is a system that is responsible for controlling the temperature, humidity, and quality of the air in a building.

This system includes heating and cooling components, such as central air conditioning, that regulate indoor temperature.

Central air conditioning is part of an HVAC system. It works by cooling air in a central location and then distributing it throughout the building using a network of ducts.

This system is commonly used in homes, businesses, and other buildings to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

Your AC unit consists of an indoor evaporator coil and an outdoor condenser coil connected by copper tubing that circulates refrigerant.

The refrigerant absorbs heat from inside your home and releases it outside. The system is powered by an electrical motor that runs a compressor to circulate the refrigerant.

Troubleshooting Common AC Issues

AC Not Turning On

If your AC unit isn’t turning on, the first step is to check your thermostat settings. Ensure it’s set to the “cool” mode and the temperature is set lower than the current room temperature.

If your thermostat is working properly, check your circuit breaker to see if it has tripped. 

If it has, reset it and see if your AC unit turns on. If none of these steps work, you may have a faulty capacitor, which will need to be replaced by a professional.

Weak Airflow

If you notice weak airflow coming from your AC vents, the first step is to check and replace your air filter. A dirty filter can restrict airflow and make your AC unit work harder than it needs to.

If your filter is clean and you’re still experiencing weak airflow, a faulty blower motor or ductwork needs to be inspected and repaired by a professional.

AC Blowing Warm Air

If your AC is blowing warm air, the first step is to check your thermostat settings and ensure it’s set to the “cool” mode. If it’s set properly, check your outdoor unit to see if it’s running.

If it’s not, you may have a faulty capacitor or compressor that needs to be replaced by a professional.

If your outdoor unit is running, but your indoor unit is still blowing warm air, you may have a refrigerant leak, which will require a professional to repair.

AC Making Strange Noises

If your AC unit is making strange noises, it could be a sign of a problem. A grinding or squealing noise could indicate a faulty motor, while a buzzing noise could indicate an electrical issue.

If you hear any unusual noises from your AC unit, it’s best to call a professional to diagnose and repair the issue.

Basic AC Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Cleaning Your AC Unit

One of the most basic AC repairs you can do yourself is cleaning your air conditioners. Over time, dirt and debris can accumulate on the outdoor condenser coil, which can restrict airflow and reduce the efficiency of your AC unit. 

To clean your AC unit, turn off the power and remove any debris from around the unit. Then, gently spray down the condenser coil using a garden hose to remove any dirt or debris. Be careful not to use too much pressure, which can damage the coil.

Replacing Your Air Filter

Replacing your air filter is another basic AC repair you can do yourself. Depending on usage, your air filter should be replaced every one to three months.

To replace your filter, turn off the power to your unit and remove the old filter. Then, insert the new filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cleaning Your Air Ducts

Cleaning your air ducts can also improve your AC unit’s efficiency and the air quality in your home. Over time, dust, dirt, and other particles can accumulate in your air ducts, reducing airflow and potentially contributing to poor indoor air quality. 

You can use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to clean your air ducts to remove any visible debris. However, it’s best to hire a professional for a more thorough cleaning.

Checking Your Refrigerant Levels

If you suspect your AC unit is low on refrigerant, you can check the levels using a refrigerant gauge. However, it’s important to note that working with refrigerants can be dangerous and should only be done by someone with the proper training and equipment. If you’re unsure how to check your refrigerant levels, it’s best to call in a professional.

Related post: How to Know When to DIY AC Repair And When to Call the Pros

Tips When Repairing AC Units Yourself

If you have the knowledge and experience to repair your AC unit yourself, here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure that you do the job safely and effectively:

  1. Turn off the power: Before starting any repairs, turn off the power to your AC unit. This can be done by flipping the switch on your circuit breaker or disconnecting the unit from its power source.
  2. Use the right tools: Ensure you have the right tools for the job, including safety gloves, safety goggles, and a multimeter to test electrical components.
  3. Identify the problem: Before starting any repairs, identify the problem with your AC unit. This will help you determine which parts need to be repaired or replaced.
  4. Follow instructions carefully: If you’re repairing a specific part of your AC unit, make sure to follow the instructions carefully. Read the instructions several times before starting the repair, and don’t skip any steps.
  5. Take safety precautions: When working with electrical components, make sure to take proper safety precautions. Use insulated tools, wear safety gloves and goggles, and never touch live wires with your bare hands.
  6. Test your repairs: After completing the repairs, test your AC unit to ensure it functions properly. Turn the power back on and test the unit to see if the problem has been resolved.
  7. Know your limits: If you’re unsure how to proceed with a repair, don’t attempt it. Calling in a professional is better than risking injury or further damage to your AC unit.

Why Hire HVAC Contractors?

Local HVAC contractors are professionals who specialize in AC installing, AC repairing, and AC maintaining HVAC systems, including cooling systems such as central air conditioning.

These contractors have the knowledge and experience to diagnose and repair any issues with your cooling system, ensuring that your building remains comfortable even during hot weather when hot air can make indoor temperatures unbearable.


With some knowledge and the right tools, many basic AC repairs can be done yourself. However, it’s important to know your limits and call in a professional for any repairs beyond your skill level or experience.

By taking proper safety precautions and understanding the basic components of your AC unit, you can keep your unit running smoothly and save money on repairs in the long run.

Are you having second thoughts about repairing your ac yourself? Call us today! At Intelligent Design, we have the necessary equipment, tools, and expertise to diagnose and repair any issues with your AC system quickly and effectively. So if you’re in need of AC repair or maintenance services, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

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