Maintenance Questions

Questions About Air Conditioner Maintenance

Q. Here, it is 90+ degrees in the daytime and my a/c is not putting out much cold air, if at all. The pipes have ice on them. I think the last time a filter was changed was last year but I'm not sure since I just moved in. What can I do to fix this?

A. There are two things that can cause ice: lack of airflow through the evaporator coil or low on refrigerant. Change the filter and leave the unit off for several hours to allow it to thaw completely. After you turn it on, run it for a few hours and check for ice.

You may also want to check if it low on Freon. You can mix a little dish soap with water and put it on the Freon pipes to check for leaks (bubbles). Check where there are fittings first and make sure they're tight. If there's no pressure, you might not find it but you'll still have to have someone fix the leak and fill the system, so it may be a waste of time unless you want to keep the A/C.

Q. I have a Goodman 2-ton unit about 10 years old. When you set the thermostat for cool, the inside fan comes on, and when you go outside the condenser unit fan is on, but I've never heard it "click" to get the compressor to come on. I checked with my meter and I had 24 volts at the contactor relay, it was contacted but nothing happens. I had a friend put gauges in it and he said the Freon in the head pressure was 200 and low pressure was 120 and not running. I noticed a lot of rust on the terminals on the capacitor, I carefully moved the wires on and off the capacitor trying to make a better connection, but to no avail. The compressor still won't come on. I now have the contactor relay off and I am looking for a new one today. Anyone have any advice as to what's wrong? Is there a reset on my unit?

A. Have the capacitor checked. The fan side could be good and the compressor sides bad, if you have a dual capacitor like most Goodmans. Another possibility is a wire burned off at the terminal block on the compressor. For some unknown reason, Goodman equipment seems to have this problem more than some other manufacturers.

Q. I am having problems with air flow across the coils after the blower. It seems the coils keep icing up, preventing the air from coming out the vents. At first I thought it was from the drain being clogged because the pan filled up with water and their was to much moisture in there. The air blows fine with the heat on, so it's not the blower. The a/c and heat share the same blower. Any ideas?

A. You need to first check the filter and coil to be sure they are clean. If you installed one of those 1" pleated filters, throw it away and put in a cheap fiberglass one. If all is well so far, it's time to call a service person to check the refrigerant charge.

Q. What is causing my outside unit condenser to make a loud hollow noise every time it kicks in? My guess is it's coming from the compressor. After about three seconds, it settles down and the noise is not as noticeable. Is this a sign of low Freon?

A. It's probably just the compressor building pressure. Some sound like that and some don't. If it seems to be cooling OK, leave it alone other than changing filters and washing out the outdoor unit fins occasionally.

Q. I guess I had my thermostat set low overnight. This morning when I turned the temperature up and the blower shut off, it made a series of popping and trickling sounds. I guess I froze it up. If I leave it alone for a while to thaw, will it fix itself? How can I prevent this in the future?

A. You need to open it up and do a visual inspection. Something may have come loose in the blower. It shouldn't be making noises like that, even if it is frozen up.

Additional Information:

Repair Or Replace | SEER | Spring & Summer Tips | Questions | HVAC Maintenance | Winter Furnace Tips

AC 101 | How an AC Works | AC Trouble-Shooting | AC Maintenance Tips | Improving Air Quality

Buying a New AC System | AC Terminology

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