How To Troubleshoot Common Portable Air Conditioner Problems

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A portable air conditioner makes a great alternative to central air, since they can be moved easily from room to room. However, you don't ever want them to malfunction on a hot day.

You may be tempted to call in a professional repair service, but it often isn't necessary. It is possible to diagnose the problem with your portable air conditioner by using this troubleshooting guide to find the cause of common issues.

The Unit Doesn't Start  

If the unit won't turn on, make sure it is connected to the outlet, and inspect the cord for damage. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws from the breaker box, look inside for tripped breakers, then reset them by flipping them back in place. 

 Reset the red circuit interpret button or see if the outlet has one. A reset button that won't stay in place  could mean damaged wiring. Turn off the power to the outlet, and detach the outlet screws with a screwdriver, and inspect the wires.

Try to plug the unit into another outlet, If it works, you likely have the unit plugged into a dead outlet. Verify this by testing the other  cutlet with a non-contact multimeter, so you won't have to touch bare wires. 

Insert the nose or tip of the tester into the outlet slots. You may prefer to test the small neutral slot first in case of bad wiring. The tester should make a noise or flash, if it detects current..

The Air Conditioner Shuts Off Unexpectedly

A unit shutting off unexpectedly could be because of a timer setting, which is remedied by adjusting the timer setting. If the temperature setting reaches lower than the set temperature, it shuts the unit off, or it won't turn on at all. Let the unit stay off to raise the temperature in the room to see if that helps. 

The Unit Doesn't Cool Efficiently

A unit that doesn't cool properly can be traced to dirt and air conditioner size. Remove the panel on the bottom of the unit, and cheek air filters. If the filters are not carbon, rinse them in hot water, and don't reinstall them until they dry. Dirty carbon filters usually have to be replaced.

Inspect the coils for dirt and ice, and remove ice from the coils by running the fan. Use a commercial coil cleaner to clean the coils.

The wrong size unit will also cause the unit to not cool efficiently. Air conditioners are sized according to BTUs, and if the unit isn't large enough, it won't cool properly. Check the BTU before you buy an air conditioner, which also gives the intended  room size. 

If you can't figure out what is wrong with your unit call an ac repair company.