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How to Troubleshoot Your Faulty Air Conditioning

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Research has shown that Australians can save significantly by changing from gas heating systems to reverse cycle air conditioners, which can be used both in summer and winter. This is true especially as gas prices have risen, reducing the price difference between electricity and gas as energy sources. If you have just installed this system in your home, you may be wondering when it's necessary to call a technician and when you can easily fix it yourself. This article discusses common breakdown scenarios and what to do for each one.

1. Air conditioner not blowing cold/hot air as needed

If you have a problem with air temperature, begin by checking your filters for accumulation of dirt and debris. You can use the owner's manual for instructions on removing and cleaning the filters. Occasionally, ice may form inside the air conditioner, and this should be removed (details below). Third, check to see that the thermostat sensor is in the right position (use the diagram in the owner's manual). You can try to see if it works by testing with a different temperature. If none of these fixes work, switch off the air conditioner and contact a technician for assistance.

2. Ice forms inside the air conditioning unit

Ice usually forms inside the unit because of dirt in the filters. Once the filters are completely filled with dirt, the unit is unable to 'breathe' properly, resulting in formation of ice inside the unit. Part of your maintenance schedule should be cleaning the filters and inside of the unit periodically. Your manual will have a recommendation on the frequency, but increase this frequency if you live in a windy/dusty area. If you have ice in the unit, you need to switch it off for a few hours, allowing the ice to melt off completely. Place a bucket and cloth underneath the unit and move any carpets and furniture out of the way. Once the ice melts off, you can take out the filter for cleaning. Replace the filter when dry and turn on the unit. The problem should now be fixed.

3. Funny smell coming from air conditioner

Your air conditioner may blow funny-smelling air through your house for a number of reasons:

  • Smelly air could be coming from outside the house through the air ducts
  • Small animals could be dead inside, outside or around the unit
  • Mildew could be growing because of a pipe blockage

Blocked pipes indicate that it's time to service your AC unit. A blockage can cause water to build up in the unit, severely damaging the unit in the long term. For bad smells coming from inside/outside, you simply need to inspect the unit and its surroundings for a source of the smell and remove it if possible. To remove any residual odours, turn your AC on and blast the fan at full speed for a few minutes to blow it out of the system. You will need to call a technician if you suspect a dead animal in an inaccessible part of the unit. Don't try to take the unit apart yourself.