How to Check Your Air Conditioner Before Calling for Service


The Bay Area fortunately does not get as hot and steamy as other, more scalding parts of California, such as Death Valley or the “Southland” of L.A. and San Diego. But it can get quite uncomfortable – particularly if your air-conditioner brakes or malfunctions during a heatwave.  If you are not technically inclined, your first instinct might be to grab a phone and call a pro to service your unit. But before you hop on that line and waste time (and money) getting professional help, ask yourself the following 5 questions:

1. When was the last time you changed your filter?

If you leave your filter in beyond its lifespan, ice may form, restricting the flow of air and actually trapping dirt and debris (Killing the efficiency) Not only will this icing problem turn the purring of your AC into a whimpering and ineffectual mewl, but it could also damage your compressor. Check your filter – and if you see a lot of ice built up or notice that the filters are gross or nonfunctional, change it and see if that helps the problem.

2. How does your condenser coil look?

The condenser coil is a veritable magnet for dirt, debris, and dust, such as lint from driers, pollen from various tree/flower/shrubbery, etc, etc.  To clean your condenser coil, simply spray down the coil with a hose.  Ideally, cleaning the condenser coil will liberate airflow and get your AC pumping in no time.

3. How is the fan blower belt holding up?

A damaged or slack fan blower belt can also reduce airflow and allow ice to form on your A/C –similar to how it forms when you fail to change your filter regularly.

4. How are your breakers, fusers, and thermostat adjustments?

A blown fuse, a faulty breaker, or a bizarrely adjusted thermostat (or malfunctioning thermostat) can all be responsible for cooling problems, such as reduced performance or non-performance.  If you see a problem with your breakers or fuses, consider changing those out before you get a professional’s help.

5. Okay, I tried everything. Nothing is working. What do I do now?

If you live in the Bay Area, the general contractors at B.A. Morrison can provide immediate assistance for your construction, remodeling, heat, and air needs. We have been in business for over two decades, and we are proud recipients of Angie’s List Super Service Award for 2010.  Learn more about our philosophy and service at or call us immediately for help with your AC problems at 510-538-9817.

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