It is easy to get used to the comforting hum of an AC unit and to assume that your unit will continue to run without any need for maintenance or repairs. Many homeowners simply flip their thermostat to cool and take no thought for what to do if the unit stops working or if it decreases in efficiency. A wise homeowner will learn about a few of the more common problems that can develop with an AC unit, so they can make repairs on their own when possible.
Even if your AC unit is running just like it should, leaky ducts can syphon away air from your AC unit and reduce your AC efficiency. As air moves through your ducts, it exerts outward pressure on them and over time this pressure can cause the joints and seals in the ducts to weaken. Leaky ducts will reduce the volume of air available to cool your house and can, thus, reduce your system efficiency by up to 40%. If you have exposed ducts running through your attic or crawlspace, you can repair leaks in your own ducts by slathering duct mastic over the joints and seams in your ducts.
If you don't have enough air moving through your evaporator coils, they can get so cold that they begin to freeze the water vapor in the air in your house. As this water vapor freezes on your coils, it can eventually block all airflow. When this happens, there will be no air flowing through your ducts to cool your house. Your first step when you discover iced over coils should be to turn off your thermostat and place buckets under them to catch water as the ice melts. If you feel like you need to speed along the drying process, don't chip at the ice. Instead, use a hairdryer to melt the ice quicker. Once you have removed the ice, you need to find out what is choking off the flow of air to the coils. Often, the problem is a dirty filter, so you can simply replace it with a clean one to get your AC running the way it should again.
These are a couple problems that even the most tool-illiterate homeowner should be able to diagnose and repair. If you find that you don't have access to your ducts, or you get in over your head in any way when trying to work on your AC unit, you can always call an HVAC technician, like Pristine Air Conditioning Corp, to tune up your unit and make sure it is running at its optimum level.