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When it comes to older homes, there can be both things homeowners love as well as hate.

While preventative maintenance plans are typically the best way to avoid costly repairs, we understand that knowing when your air conditioner was last tuned-up probably isn’t at the top of most people’s “honey-do” list.

For most people, addressing problems with an air conditioner often comes after a major problem with the equipment.

Common AC problems

Luckily, most air conditioning problems can be relatively easy to diagnose with the help of an experienced HVAC technician.

According to Easy AC, an HVAC company based in Florida, the top 10 most common problems with air conditioning units include the following:

  • Filter
  • Thermostat
  • Refrigerant Leaks
  • Drainage
  • Breakers or Fuses
  • Capacitors
  • Compressor
  • Evaporator Coils
  • Condenser Coils
  • Worn Contactor
    For additional information, or to read the full article, click here.

Naturally, you might be wondering which of these cooling issues you could (or should) work on solving. In general, there are a few that nearly every homeowner could take on. The others might require more specialized knowledge or the assistance of a licensed HVAC specialist.

ac system outside

What AC Problems Should The Average Homeowner Tackle?

Of the items listed above, the most common AC problems that can be fixed by the average homeowner include the following:

Air Conditioner Filter

One of the main reasons an AC system doesn’t function properly is a dirty or clogged filter. This can be particularly problematic during the winter months, as a clogged filter can restrict airflow and even cause the AC unit to freeze. In general, we suggest you change your air conditioner filter every month.

Check the exterior of the unit for debris

Another easy spot-check nearly every homeowner should be doing is inspecting the air conditioning unit for any debris surrounding it. For example, in early spring and late fall, you might want to check the AC unit for any leaves or debris.

Clean And Straighten The Air Conditioner Fins

After you’ve cleaned the exterior of the AC unit, remove the grill from the top of the air conditioner and check the fins for any debris or damage. You can use a flathead screwdriver to straighten any fins that are bent. Be sure not to be too rough with the fins, as they could be damaged if you’re not careful.

The DIY Network provides an excellent step-by-step tutorial on inspecting your AC unit for debris and doing some basic maintenance:

10 Easy Steps to Keep Your Air-Conditioning Unit Running Smoothly

Step 1: Shut Off The Power
Step 2: Remove Debris
Step 3: Clean The Fins
Step 4: Straighten The Fins
Step 5: Clean Area Around The Unit
Step 6: Level the Unit
Step 7: Clean the Evaporator Coil
Step 8: Clean a Plugged Evaporator Drain
Step 9: Change The Blower Filter
Step 10: Turn The Power Back On

Before You Sign A Preventative Maintenance Plan

If you’ve been considering a preventative maintenance plan, you might want to make sure it’s a good fit for your specific needs. In many cases, you’ll find that most preventative maintenance plans offer bells and whistles you don’t need or won’t use.

If this is the case, you have to be able to ask yourself if the cost of the preventative maintenance plan is really worth the cost you’ll end up paying.

Additionally, before signing on the dotted line, you might want to check these contract tips from Arista Air:

Air Conditioner Maintenance Contract Tips

  • Did you know that you’ll get the best deal on air conditioner maintenance when you sign up for a yearly service contract?
  • All contracts are not created equal. Make sure you get one that’s designed for your needs and your equipment.
  • Keep shopping if you’re expected to sign a contract written in legalese that makes it impossible to understand what’s covered. Reputable service providers make sure you can understand what you’re signing.


While there are many things homeowners can do to help prolong the life of their air conditioning systems, there may be situations in which you need to contact an HVAC specialist in Longmont.

If this sounds like you, give Stone Heating and Air a call. We’re just a phone call away, (303) 564-0986.