When your air conditioning breaks down, your first inclination may be to just throw in the towel. Before you assume you need to call in HVAC professionals and sit in your sweat until they show up, consider the following steps you can take on your own.

Woman with her head inside of a freezer

The process consists of doing your own DIY investigation, finding HVAC professionals, and keeping cool until they arrive.

DIY Analysis

There aren’t many steps you can take with an HVAC system on your own unless you’re an industry professional. However, there are three:

Check the Thermostat

Air conditioning breakdowns can happen for many reasons. It might be the entire unit malfunctioning, but it also might just be dead batteries. You can do some basic troubleshooting on your own by resetting your thermostat to see if the air comes back on. If it doesn’t, try turning the physical AC unit on manually. If it fires up, then the thermostat is likely the issue, and you might be able to replace that on your own.

Check Out the Power and Circuit Breaker

AC units sometimes result in electric surges. These trip circuit breakers, resulting in having their power cut off. Check your circuit breaker for flipped switches. Just flip it back into active position to see if your AC starts running again.

Look for Water or Electrical Damage

If you can’t find issues with your circuit breaker or thermostat, then there might be water or electrical damage. Look for leaking or rusted tubes, debris, or smoke around your central unit. If you notice any of this, then you need professional assistance.

Contacting AC Professionals

The next part of the process is finding HVAC professionals who can come out, look over your system, and then fix it. It’s tempting to call the first air conditioning contractor you find if you want your AC back on ASAP, but it’s also prudent to slow down and do things right:

  • Make a list of your options
  • Rank them by ratings and reviews
  • Get at least three quotes
  • Watch out for extra fees for after-hours service
  • Make a decision

Staying Cool Until They Arrive

Keeping cool until the AC professionals arrive is important. Start by turning off all the lights and electric appliances you can do without, as you want to minimize how much heat is produced in your home in the meantime.

One electric appliance you want to turn on is an electric fan you have. Turn them all on. The evaporative effect of moving air will make a room feel up to 8F cooler than it actually is.