Repairs to your air conditioner can be unexpected and stressful, especially if it's during a particularly hot or humid period. It might not seem like there's a lot you can do when problems occur, but there are several things you can do to make repairs a smoother, and potentially less pricey, process.
See What You Can Do Yourself
There are many components in every air conditioning system, which means there are at least a few things you can try to troubleshoot yourself. It's best to try these steps before the technician arrives so you can explain what has already been done. This will save you time, and in some cases, may negate your need for service altogether.
Start inside by checking the batteries in your thermostat and replacing them if necessary. Next, check your air filter. If it's very dirty, replace it immediately. Dirty air filters can obstruct air flow, which can result in your system shutting down. Once you're done, move outside and check your circuit breaker to see if the circuit your air conditioner uses has tripped. Near the outdoor unit, make sure everything is clean, free of debris, and that there's no buildup of ice. Finally, you can check and replace your fuses; you can find replacements at most hardware stores, and they're relatively inexpensive.
Save Major Repairs For Later
If your air conditioner is still mostly operative, or if you aren't currently in a period of severe weather, you may be able to put off repairs until a later date during the off season for air conditioning purchases and repairs. There are a few reasons you might want to do this. First, with less demand comes lower prices for repairs. Second, this also means that technicians have more flexibility in their schedule and may be able to spend more time on your repairs, checking more components and doing more troubleshooting. Third, parts are more readily available which means fewer delays.
The slower periods of demand tend to be in fall and spring when weather conditions are more temperate, so if you can afford to wait, it might be advantageous for you to do so. There are caveats to this, however. In certain cases, putting off repairs while continuing to use your air conditioner could make problems worse and subsequently more expensive to fix, so weigh your options so you can decide if this option will work for you.
Keep Spare Parts Handy
If you want to take some preemptive steps for future repairs, you can have a major impact on both how much you pay and how long you'll have to wait for repairs by buying your own spare parts. You don't need to buy an entire new set of components, but by buying components that are often in high demand during hot weather or components that are most likely to cause problems, you can save money by buying directly from a seller rather than going through your technician. This will also mean you have the parts you need on hand as soon as your technician arrives.
The best way to do this is to find your air conditioner's model number, then buy parts that fit that specific model. Generally you can find this number somewhere on or near the outdoor unit. Then take a look at what parts are most commonly responsible for repair calls and decide which you want to keep on hand. This is an up-front investment, but it all but guarantees that your next AC repair visit that requires replacement of common parts will be much easier on your wallet.