How to Handle an A/C Emergency


Picture it – the temperature outside is in the upper 90s. You are relaxing in your home, just watching some TV and enjoying your escape from the heat and humidity. Suddenly, you realize something is wrong. The temperature isn’t quite so comfortable, and you can’t feel that delicious breeze from the air conditioner anymore. You walk over to the thermostat, turn the temperature down, and nothing happens. You turn the air conditioner off, and then on again, but still – you’re left with silence and no cold air.

That’s when you realize an unsettling fact – you’re in the middle of an air conditioning emergency! What should you do now?


Don’t Panic – Start with Some Simple Troubleshooting

The very first thing you should do is check your circuit breaker. If you are lucky, a power surge may have just triggered the breaker, and all you should do is flip the switch to restore power to your system. If this is the case, problem solved!

If this doesn’t work, check the thermostat. Does it have power and appear to be functioning correctly?

If that’s all clear, double check your air filter, as a dirty filter can cause all sorts of problems due to reduced airflow.

Clean filter? It’s time to test the drain on the condenser unit outside, as it can sometimes clog due to leaves and other outdoor debris. While you are out there, check the coils – are they dirty? Are they frozen? Both can cause your system to stop working properly, forcing your home into an uncomfortable situation until the problem is fixed.

These are some of the most common issues affecting air conditioners that stop working suddenly. If you’ve gone through this list and are still experiencing problems, read this post for in-depth A/C troubleshooting tips. If you are still amid an A/C emergency, it’s time to give us a call.


If it Smells Like Burning, Cut Power to the HVAC System

A smell of smoke or electrical wires burning is never a good sign. If your air conditioner smells like burning, skip the troubleshooting and turn off power to the system immediately! Ensure that there is no fire – if you can’t tell if something is burning or not, you may want to call the fire department just to be on the safe side. It’s better to have the embarrassment of a false alarm than to suffer the damage of a fire.

If you have confirmed that there is no active burning, call us. An HVAC system that smells like something is burning very likely has a significant problem that a professional should handle, and we’re happy to come out and fix the problem to keep your home comfortable and safe.


If You Can’t Find the Source of the Problem, Call Us

If you have gone through the steps of troubleshooting and can’t seem to find a clear solution to the problem, then it’s time to call out one of our technicians. We do everything in our power to deal with emergency A/C calls as quickly as possible – no one wants to be left in the Alabama heat for very long!

When you call, please let us know if the A/C is completely down. We will likely ask you some questions about the problem and try to help as much as possible over the phone. The questions help us to figure out what exactly may be wrong with your system and allow us to plan for what repair parts we might need to bring with us so that your problem is cleared up ASAP.


Meanwhile, Try to Keep the House Cool

With the A/C out of commission, it’s time to break out the fans! Try to keep the house as dark as possible by closing curtains – this will help prevent radiant heating from sunlight coming through your windows. If your home is still quite a bit cooler than the outside air, don’t open the windows just yet – you want to keep that cold air in your home as long as possible.

Take some time to read over our full list of ways to keep cool during an A/C emergency. There are some fantastic tips here for staying comfortable while dealing with a broken HVAC system. One of the most important tips is to stay hydrated – a little water goes a long way when you are feeling overheated. This advice goes for your pets too, so remember to keep extra water out for them while waiting for the repair tech to arrive.


If There is Going to Be a Long Delay…

Sometimes, due to conditions beyond our control such as severe weather or a massive heat wave, we have a lot of clients who are experiencing HVAC problems all at once. In this case, there may be a delay in getting a technician out to your home.

In the event of a long delay, it’s time to break out the appropriate clothing (goodbye jeans, hello shorts) and make the best of a not-so-great situation. Treat yourself to some cold, non-alcoholic beverages and maybe some ice cream, then remember to throw your sheets in the freezer before bedtime for some extra cooling power!