It never seems to failthe air conditioning starts acting up just when you need it the most. During hot summer days, it can be difficult to get a repair company to come to your home immediately because they're generally swamped with service requests when temperatures rise. Air conditioning systems typically experience malfunctions during the first serious heat wave of the season because they're having to work harder than usual. Fortunately, there are certain fixes that you can perform yourself if you've got basic tools. Following are four of them. 

Clogged Ducts

If your AC unit motor seems to be running but you don't feel any cool air coming from the vents, the culprit could be clogged ductwork. AC ducts are usually located in the attic, so try going up there and cleaning them out and seeing if it helps the situation. Always turn your system off and shut off its power source in the fuse box before cleaning out the ducts. A medium-bristled paintbrush-style brush should be all that's necessary to remove even thick layers of dust. You can also use paper towels, rags, or a small, handheld vacuum, so don't worry if you don't have the right type of brush. The important thing is to get the dust removed so that your system offers good air flow. 

Ice Buildup 

Air conditioning units sometime develop ice buildups, which can cause the system to malfunction, stopping you from enjoying a cool home interior during a heat wave. The problem could be as simple as a dirty filter, however, and you should be able to address this problem without having to call a HVAC professional. The first thing that you should do after noticing a buildup of ice is to turn the unit off before checking the filter. Some models require that new filters be installed, while others have permanent filters that need to be cleaned on a regular basis. If yours is the former, you can easily find a replacement filter at your local home improvement retailer.

After you have changed or cleaned the filter, leave the system off until the ice has completely melted. This may take as long as five hours. If the unit continues to have air circulation issues or fails to come on after the filter has been cleaned or changed, it's time to contact a professional service provider for AC services.

Faulty Thermostat

Many homeowners have called air conditioning repair services in a panic when their systems have failed to function, only to find out that the culprit was the thermostat. In fact, many have discovered that the only thing wrong with the air conditioner's thermostat was that its batteries had gone dead. You're most likely to encounter this issue the first time you turn your unit on for the season because the batteries have gone dead after a long period of not being used. If the unit still fails to function after you replace the batteries, check the settings on the thermostat to ensure that it's turned to the appropriate temperature, and keep in mind that the system won't come on if the current temperature in the room is lower than the thermostat settings. 

A Tripped Breaker 

Air conditioning units usually run on their own breakers, so if the breaker has been tripped, it may go unnoticed during the winter months. Check the breaker if the system won't come on the first time you try it in the spring or summer. Also, if your AC fails to work after a period of warm or hot weather, it could be because a breaker has tripped due to heavy usage.