The need for repairs for your air conditioner may take you by surprise, but the repairs themselves don't have to be a hassle. Some basic troubleshooting, research, and planning ahead can go a long way toward making your next air conditioning repair visit a pleasant one.
Do Some Troubleshooting First
You don't need to be an experienced HVAC technician to fix many common problems with your air conditioner, and there are a few benefits to going through some of the easy steps yourself. The first is that you may end up fixing the problem completely, and the second is that, even if you don't fix it yourself, you'll have narrowed down the problem by the time your technician arrives.
Start by making sure your thermostat settings are correct and that it's currently working. If the battery is low or dead, it may not function correctly, so replace them if necessary. Next, if you haven't replaced your air filter in at least a month or two, replace the filter with a clean one; if the filter is too dirty, the restricted air intake may cause your air conditioner to shut down.
After that, move on to your circuit breaker panel and check to make sure none of your circuits have tripped. If it is tripped and continues to trip, you may have found your problem. If that looks fine, check your air conditioner's outdoor unit. If it has power but nothing is happening, you may need to replace the fuses. These are inexpensive and quick to replace; just take care to shut off the power to your air conditioner before trying to replace them.
Have Records and Part Information Ready
When your technician arrives, it will help if you have some information available to help the process go a little more smoothly. To start, if you have any documentation or records from past repairs, keep that on hand. Your technician may want to see what previous repairs were done, when, and by whom. Next, it can also help if you have basic information about the specific make and model of your air conditioner or the parts that it uses; if you aren't sure offhand, you can search your air conditioner's model online and see what parts are listed as compatible. If necessary, your technician can look this up himself, so don't worry too much if you don't know. Finally, any warranty information can help guide you on what can and can't be done if you want to keep that valuable warranty.
Another thing that can help things go even more smoothly is if you have some common parts on hand as spares. Generally, you should have spare air filters and batteries, but spare fuses can also help. If they need to be replaced but your air conditioner has broken down in a period of high demand, you may have to wait for days for replacement parts to come in even if a technician is available.
Schedule Repairs During Off-Season
If the repairs you need are minor enough that you have some flexibility in your schedule, you can save some money by scheduling your repairs during a season when there is less demand for HVAC services. Generally, these periods are fall and spring, which is when the weather is most temperate. There are a few benefits to doing this: you get more flexibility when scheduling service, parts are more likely to be in stock, and services won't be as expensive due to the decrease in demand.
Because of the better pricing, this is also a good time to look into entering into a maintenance contract. If your air conditioner is getting old, you may benefit from having a service contract, which provides many annual services for a flat fee.
For more information, companies like Brian's Heat and Air can help.