When your home's air conditioner is not working, sometimes you can troubleshoot some minor problems on your own and fix things without calling a repair technician, or at least know what to discuss with the technician when he or she arrives. This can make repairs much faster and easier on you overall, since the technician will know where to start looking for certain problems. Consider some quick ways to troubleshoot your home's air conditioner when it's not working or isn't cooling your home.

1. Tripping the breaker

If the unit is not working altogether, note whether the circuit breaker is tripped. If so, switch it back on and then turn on the unit again. If it trips the breaker again, chances are it's the wiring between the air conditioner and the home itself. If the wiring is outdated and cannot handle the demands of the air conditioner, it will usually trip the circuit to shut off the flow of electricity. The wiring may also be bare and frayed or otherwise need replacing, so that the circuit shuts off before it can be overloaded. In either case, this is typically something to be handled by an electrician or repair technician, but let them know of this recurring problem so they can check the wires before anything else.

2. Fan not running

You should be able to see the fan blades of your air conditioner inside the unit. If you notice that the air conditioner does run but doesn't cool your home, check to see if the fan comes on with the unit. If not, turn off the unit and open the front cover to access the fan. Note if something is blocking the blades or if the blades have come loose. You can remove a blockage and tighten the screws to the fan blades to get them running again. If these fixes don't address the problem, chances are the wiring inside the unit connecting the blades needs replacing.

3. Check the refrigerant

If the unit seems to be running but is not cooling your home, it could be low on refrigerant. If you haven't had it recharged or refilled in several years, this may very well be the culprit. It's good to have a technician check this as you don't want to add refrigerant yourself; charging it with too much can put undue pressure on the unit, and not adding enough refrigerant will mean the unit won't cool your home no matter what else is working.