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It’s that time of year again when the outdoor temperatures start to heat up and we take shelter in our homes to keep cool. But what happens when your air conditioner is not cooling?

It happens to many of us this time of year–you go to turn on your AC system and it’s not blowing cold air. If this happens to you, there are a few steps you can do before calling a heating, ventilation, an air conditioning (HVAC) repair contractor to fix your air conditioner. Typically, homeowners discover their air conditioner is not working on the first day it gets hot– if this happens, check the following:

  1. Thermostat fan setting– make sure it set to cool, not heat, or off
  2. Filters– is the filter so dirty that airflow is unable to pass?
  3. Outside unit– is it covered in overgrowth and debris?

If you have checked the thermostat, filters, and the outside unit, and your air conditioner still does not blowing cool air, then you may be low on refrigerant or have a refrigerant leak. According to Energy.gov if your air conditioner is new and was recently installed, it could be undercharged from the installation or your AC has a leak. If there is a leak, simply adding refrigerant is not your solution– a professionally trained HVAC service technician should test the system, fix the leak, and make sure it is properly charged.

Did you know the performance and efficiency of your air conditioner is the greatest when the refrigerant charge matches the manufacturer’s specification? Your HVAC system performs the same as a vehicle– it’s runs it’s best when you and your mechanic follow the manufacturer’s recommendations–and it will last longer, too.

Remember the best thing you can do before the first hot day is to turn on your air conditioner to make sure it is blowing cool air. If you wait, like many homeowners do, you may be waiting a little longer for an available HVAC repair man on the hottest day of the season. Also, maintenance is key. Have your air conditioner inspected each cooling season. A well maintained HVAC system will work efficiently and effectively. In Northern Virginia and West Virginia, it’s best to perform HVAC maintenance twice a year– once in the spring and once in the fall.

Have questions about the maintenance needed for your HVAC system? Give the HVAC professionals a call at “The Flow!” M.E. Flow covers all of Northern Virginia, and a portion of West Virginia (Bunker Hill, Charles Town, Harpers Ferry, Inwood and Summer Point). With office locations in Alexandria, Winchester, and Leesburg, we have an air conditioning service repair technician in your neighborhood.