Broken Air Conditioning Isn't the End of the World

Broken air conditioning may make you FEEL like the world is ending, but, trust us, everything is going to be okay. There are some basic things you can do to determine if your AC unit is reasonably repairable or truly beyond all hope.

How to Deal with Broken Air Conditioning (and Stay Sane)

First, let's start with some basic stuff.


When was the last time you changed your air filters? If you don't know, then congratulations! Because, you just found a big part of the problem.

A clean air filter is critically important to proper air conditioner function. Check the filter regularly. Check it again when you think you've got broken air conditioning. If the filter is dirty, change it out.

Icing But Not on a Cake

Maybe your filter is nice and clean, and your problem is ice. Ice build-up on an outside coil, even in summer, is a problem. Ice on the coils could indicate a refrigerant leak somewhere. But it could also just mean your coils were really dirty.

When you find ice, turn off the unit to let it all melt. Next, look at the coils. Dirty coils can lead to icing. Spray them down with a hose. Use a soft brush to remove any debris from around the fins. Turn the unit back on again. If the ice doesn't return, the dirt and grime on the coils was likely the problem.

Weak Air Flow

Is the air cool, but it doesn't seem to be blowing as effectively as it once did? Check the different vents. If you're only getting weak flow from one or two, the problem might be a break in your ductwork. Inspect the air ducts in your crawl space or attic. You should be able to easily see any breaks or cracks big enough to make a difference.

Seal any cracks with foil tape (NOT duct tape; I know it's weird). For big breaks, you may have to call in a specialist.

Still Having Issues?

Dirt, ice, and leaky ductwork are about the limit of broken air conditioning problems the average person can solve. If the unit still isn't working right and it isn't one of those three, contact a trained professional for a thorough system evaluation.

That Wasn't So Bad, Right?

Or was it? Let us now in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

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