AC Repair in Charlottesville, VA

Air Conditioner Repair Services Charlottesville Homeowners Can Depend On

AC repair

The Otter Guys have been offering outstanding air conditioning system repair services in Charlottesville for many years. Do you want to ensure your AC unit runs smoothly this season? Our expert technicians will make sure your central air conditioning system is in tip-top shape, so you can enjoy the cool air and relax like a river otter on a lazy day! Trust us to keep your AC unit running efficiently all season long!

Why Work With the Otter Guys?

Finding a trustworthy HVAC company to handle your air conditioner repair service needs can be “otterly” difficult, especially during the hot summer months. That’s why you need a reliable team to keep your AC system running smoothly. The Otter Guys are the perfect fit for the job!

We understand the unique needs of each individual client because we have years of experience in serving homeowners in Charlottesville. We strive to provide excellent, efficient services, with the goal of developing a long-term relationship with our customers. Choose us for all of your AC repair service needs and discover the benefits of working with a professional team.

Call today for quality AC repairs and services you can trust in Charlottesville, VA, or the surrounding area.

Signs That It Is Time to Contact Your Charlottesville AC System Repair Technician

The last thing you need in the middle of summer is an unexpected AC problem, like warm air flowing out of your AC unit or a refrigerant leak. However, with a dependable air conditioning system repair professional on your side, you can rest easy knowing that the problem will be safely resolved. We will take the time to find and fix the problem and make sure you get the repairs you need.

Signs of AC system trouble include:

  • Rattling, hissing, or other loud sounds coming from the air handler or outdoor AC unit

  • System short cycling (the AC system turning on and off repeatedly)

  • Leaking around the air handler

  • The AC system is running, but there is no cold air coming out

  • Large spike in your energy bill for no reason

Don’t hesitate to contact our HVAC service experts for an immediate inspection and AC repairs in Charlottesville, VA.

How We Handle Your Air Conditioner Repair Service

When you call us for central air conditioning repair services, our top priority is to provide you with the services you need as soon as possible. We will try our hardest to send a trained technician to your Charlottesville home on the day that you call. Our technicians will arrive at your home with all of the necessary tools and training to handle your repair. 

Once there, we’ll do our best to figure out what’s causing your air conditioning problems. We will work quickly to solve the problem once it has been found.  While speed is one of our top priorities, we also want to provide the highest quality service that we can. We thoroughly evaluate the system to understand the root cause of why the AC unit or system isn’t cooling effectively.

If necessary, we can also provide Air conditioner replacement options if your system is nearing the end of its useful life.

Emergency Repair Services

Unfortunately, HVAC breakdowns happen all the time. The last thing you need to worry about in the middle of summer is your HVAC going off without warning. That is why we offer our customers emergency repair services. We want Charlottesville residents to rest easy, knowing that if an AC emergency comes up, we are there to help.


Below are some of our most frequently asked questions.

What Are Common Fixes For The AC Not Cooling? 

There are a few areas that we evaluate when your air conditioner isn’t cooling as well as it should: 

Thermostat Settings

Make sure that you set the thermostat to the correct mode (cooling). Often, this can be a simple fix, particularly for ductless mini-split systems. We will also check thermostat calibration to ensure that the sensor is accurately measuring indoor temperature. Finally, for communicating systems, we check the wiring and relays to assess that the thermostat can control the system.

Refrigerant Levels

Refrigerant (or freon) is the conduit that allows for effective heat transfer across the system. When an air conditioning system is low on refrigerant, it won’t be able to cool the home effectively. This likely is indicative of a leak somewhere in the system. Your HVAC technician will aim to seal the leak before recharging the system with freon.

Dirty Filters or Other Air Restrictions

Dirty Filters or other Air Restrictions:  In order to transfer heat away from and effectively cool your home, your air conditioner needs unrestricted airflow throughout the system. Ductwork obstructions, a dirty air filter, motor, or coilscan significantly reduce the cooling potential of your air conditioning system. This will lead to unnecessary wear and tear on important components. This is why it is really important to remember to change your air filter frequently.  

Electrical Problems

If your AC unit isn’t turning on at all, the electrical system is likely the culprit.  We will check the circuit breaker, and evaluate the other electrical components, such as the contactor, capacitor, and control boards. Often, for aging systems, we may recommend a ‘hard start’ kit to reduce the electrical intensity required to start the unit and thus reduce system strain.

What Do I Do If My Air Conditioner Goes Out?

Having your air conditioner stop working can be stressful, especially in during those hot summer days.  There are several straightforward steps you can take before calling us.  First, check your thermostat. Make sure it’s set to “cool” and that the temperature is lower than the current room temperature.  Next, look at your air conditioner’s filter. If it’s dirty, it is likely blocking airflow into your system, which as we mentioned above, will reduce the cooling capacity of your air conditioning unit. Try changing your dirty filter to see if this solves the issue.

Another thing you can do is to go outside and take a look at your outdoor unit. Make sure that your outdoor unit has plenty of space to “breathe.” The area around the unit should be clear of leaves, branches, and other debris. A clean unit can significantly aid your system and help it work efficiently.   If you have tried all of these steps and your air conditioner still isn’t working well, the issue may be more complex. It’s best to call The Otter Guys in these cases. Our technicians are trained to safely handle complex issues, such as leaks, electrical concerns, or other mechanical issues.  

How Do I Know if My Central Air Unit Needs Freon? 

As mentioned earlier, refrigerant, or freon, plays an essential role in keeping your home cool. Freon is the vehicle by which heat is conveyed from your home to the outdoors, leaving you nice and cool. Here is how to identify signs that your air conditioning unit needs freon:

  1. Poor Cooling: If your AC system is running, but not cooling effectively, it is likely that you are low on refrigerant. If your air conditioner is not blowing cold air, you likely have a refrigerant leak in your system.
  2. Longer Cooling Cycles: You notice that your air conditioner is constantly running, your utility bills are higher, but your home doesn’t seem to reach the set temperature on your thermostat.
  3. Ice on the Unit: If you see ice forming on the refrigerant lines or the outside unit, that’s a strong indication of low refrigerant.
  4. Higher Energy Bills: If your energy bill is suddenly much higher, it could be because your system is working harder to cool your home due to low refrigerant.
  5. Hissing Sounds: If there’s a leak, you might hear a hissing or bubbling noise coming from the AC unit.

Please remember, if you suspect your AC needs refrigerant, it’s best to call a professional. They will find the source of the leak, repair the leak, and then add the appropriate amount of refrigerant. Simply adding refrigerant back to the system without repairing the leak could lead you back to where you started.

How Much Does it Cost To Add Freon To My Unit?

Unfortunately, it is hard to give a precise answer to this question. The cost to add freon to the unit depends on several factors. The leak severity, type of refrigerant, and size of your system all play a role in the overall cost.  At minimum, you can expect to pay at least ~$300-$400 for a technician to assess the system, hook up the appropriate tools and equipment required to add refrigerant to the unit, and adding at least 1 to 3 pounds of refrigerant. 

Likely, the system will have a leak in it somewhere, and the cost to find and then repair the leak can be significant. Finally, if the Freon your system is older and runs on R-22, a refrigerant that was phased out of production in 2020, the costs could be significantly more. R-22 refrigerant is difficult for most contractors to obtain.  In scenarios where an older system operating on R-22 has a significant leak, we recommend that the homeowner consider replacing the unit instead of investing a significant amount of money to repair the unit. 

How Do I Know if My AC Unit is Broken?

Recognizing a potentially broken AC unit can help prevent minor issues from escalating. Here are several signs that your AC unit may not be working properly:

  1. Not Cooling Effectively: If your AC isn’t cooling your home properly, even at full blast, this is usually indicative of a problem. Follow the steps we outlined above to see if this can be resolved through a minor fix (changing a filter, clearing brush away from the outdoor unit)
  2. Unusual Noises: If you hear loud grinding, squealing, or banging sounds – we suggest calling us right away. These are often indicators of mechanical issues, and you want to get these issues evaluated before they cause larger issues
  3. Bad Odors: If your AC is emitting foul or pungent smells, it could suggest mold, a burned-out wire insulation, or other issues. Call a professional to assess the electrical system, and understand what is at the root of your indoor air quality concerns.
  4. Frequent Cycles: Your AC should go through relatively routine cooling cycles, regardless of the weather. If it’s turning on and off more frequently than usual, it might need to be evaluated. More frequent cycles could be indicative of a thermostat calibration issue, or a larger concern.
  5. High Humidity: If your AC can’t keep humidity levels within a comfortable range during summer months, it’s likely not working properly.
  6. Water Leaks: Pooled water or an active leak around your system could suggest an issue with your condensate drain line. A clogged drain line can result in water pouring out of your system, which can lead to significant damage, especially for systems located in the attic.
  7. Increased Energy Bills: A significant spike in your energy bill could indicate that your AC is working harder than it should, which might mean it’s not running efficiently. This can have a multitude of causes, from air flow restrictions, to electrical concerns, to dirty or clogged coils. Call us and we’ll be happy to investigate the issue.

Does it Hurt My Air Conditioner To Run it With Low Freon? 

Yes, running your air conditioner with low refrigerant (Freon) levels can potentially cause serious damage to the system. Refrigerant is essential for the cooling process, and when it’s low, your air conditioner will struggle to effectively cool your home.

Operating an AC unit with insufficient refrigerant can lead to several problems:

  1. Inefficient Cooling: The AC will work harder and longer to reach the set temperature, leading to increased energy consumption and higher utility bills.
  2. Overheating: The compressor (the heart of the AC system) can overheat due to excessive strain. Overheating can lead to compressor failure, which is often a costly repair or may even require full unit replacement.
  3. Frozen Evaporator Coils: Insufficient refrigerant can cause the evaporator coils to become too cold and freeze, which can hinder the overall operation of your AC.

It’s crucial not to ignore low refrigerant levels to avoid causing more severe damage to your AC system.

Preventive AC Maintenance for Charlottesville, VA Homeowners

The most “otterly” effective way to avoid HVAC emergencies, according to the Indoor Air Quality Association, is through routine AC unit maintenance and servicing. We recommend replacing your air conditioner filter every one to three months. The Otter Guys offers maintenance contracts that include AC unit inspections, dirty air filter cleanings, air conditioning replacement, and tune-ups to make sure that your system works as well as it should. Contact us today to learn more about our HVAC maintenance plans and get on your way to hassle-free home comfort.

Contact our experts today to schedule immediate AC repair services in Charlottesville, VA.


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