There are a lot of components that make up the central air conditioning unit, and in order to troubleshoot what is wrong with your air conditioner, you need to understand a wide variety of components that make up the system including refrigeration, electricity, electrical components, electric mechanical controls and AC(air conditioning) components. Since the system can be complex it is probably better to have a trained HVAC specialist look at and diagnose the unit rather than attempt repairs yourself, but you should also be familiar enough with your ac unit so you understand how to maintain it.
There are several signs that can indicate to a homeowner that it is time to have their air conditioner checked and any repairs are done. One definite sign is your electric bills continue to increase as the summer progresses. If your air conditioning is not operating at its optimal performance this is what could happen. If your air conditioner constantly turns on and off, is clogged, or leaks fluids then it is overworking in order to get the same results as it would when it was new and working in optimal capacity. When the air conditioner is overworked you will see the electric bills start to increase. It may only be a few dollars at first but over time it could go up to as much as ten or more dollars higher. You should first check your filter and clean it. If this does not seem to help then you should call a repairman to check it out and make any repairs as necessary. Maintaining your air conditioner will help prevent having to buy a new one. If your air conditioning system is frequently breaking down or you find yourself calling for a twenty-four hour emergency repairs then you should consider replacement. There are several benefits to replacing and upgrading your system. You should see instant savings on your electrical bills along with air quality in your home that is much improved. Yes, it is a big expense but worth it with all the benefits and fewer repairs.
Most people think it takes a qualified heating technician to check their gas furnace or know how to clean a gas furnace. Truth is there are several things a homeowner can do to check and clean their own furnace. A furnace should be checked at the very least, once a year. Typically just before the cold season when there will be a need for the furnace to run. However, it is a good idea to also check it once during the heating season, just in case the filter gets dirty. The furnace filter is probably the number one thing a homeowner can do to keep their furnace running efficient and clean. Most filters are good for about 2-3 months, depending on the cleanliness of the air, or if there are pets. Inspect the furnace filter every other month, and replace it when the original color of the filter media can't be seen through the grayish colored dirt and/or pet fur. The use of a vacuum cleaner with extension to carefully clean off any dust, dirt or spider webs from the furnace. Careful not to break and components, or pull any wires loose. Put the panels back on. Turn power and gas back on. Re-light pilot as needed.