It’s not hard to tell when your home’s air conditioning system needs repair. Some of these signs are obvious, while others are more subtle. Knowing the warning signs will tell you when to seek help before an AC problem gets out of hand.
The Air Is Not as Cold As It Used To Be
At some point, you may find that your air conditioning system simply isn’t doing its job. Even at full blast, the air coming from your vents just isn’t as cold as it used to be – or isn’t cold at all. That can be caused by a bad compressor or motor. When that time comes, even a repair might not fix things, and you might need to replace the unit.
Poor Air Flow
Weak or little air flow through your AC vents may be cause by several things. You may have a clogged filter or the unit’s compressor may be failing. If some areas or rooms in your home are getting cool air while others are not, then the problem might be with your duct work.
Sometimes the problem is not with the air conditioning unit. It might be with the thermostat itself. One way to tell if your thermostat is a problem is if one area of your house is very cold while another part remains the same temperature.
Moisture Where It Shouldn’t Be
Moisture or leakage around or near your system can be a sign of problems. If water pools next to your air conditioner, it might indicate that the drain tube is blocked or broken. If you find water leaks or ice forming on the unit, that can indicate more serious problems.
If you see that your unit is leaking refrigerant, you should call an air conditioning repair professional right away.
High Humidity Levels Remain
Air conditioners help remove humidity from the air. If you are noticing moisture in the air while your system is running, that can indicate a larger problem.
Strange Sounds Come From the Unit
Grinding, squealing or grating sounds from your air conditioner might be an indication that you need a replacement unit. These noises suggest that something is wrong inside the unit, such as the motor bearings. Failure to service the unit quickly can result in a costly breakdown.
You Smell Strange Odors
Musty smells from your vents may indicate that there is mold inside your unit or duct work. You may be blowing mold spores throughout your home, which can cause health problems for you and your family. If you smell something burning, it is probably the electrical wiring or insulation. If this is the case, shut the unit down immediately and call a cooling expert for service.
The AC System Cycles On and Off
Your air conditioner normally switches on and off in cycles throughout the day. If you find that your HVAC system turns on and off quickly, it may need your system needs a tune-up or it could indicate a more serious problem. Rapid cycling causes increased wear and tear on your unit, which can contribute toward a reduced lifespan and future breakdown.
Rising Electric Bills
While today’s air conditioners are more energy-efficient than ever, your HVAC system still consumes the most electricity in your home. An indication of a problem is a rising energy bill, over and above your normal usage. This may be caused by an inefficient system that needs either repair or replacement. Regular tuneups can help keep your AC running efficiently and can help lower your energy costs.
You’ve Already Repaired the System a Few Times
If there have been multiple repairs made to your system recently, it may be time to consider replacing the system. The costs of repair will eventually add up just to keep the old unit working. A replacement may be more expensive, but in the long run a more economical choice.
Your System Has Simply Aged Out
A well-maintained air conditioning system should last 10 to 15 years. With regular tuneups and repairs, some systems can last even longer. Even if you’ve avoided the trouble signs above, it’s a good idea to start looking into replacing your equipment if it is more than 15 years old.
Most repairs on air conditioners are simple, but homeowners often avoid calling a technician because they fear a large bill. If your AC unit is new, you may find that the repair is covered under a manufacturer’s warranty. Even if it’s not, it is better to fix a small problem quickly than to wait and let it grow into a larger problem.
Even if your unit doesn’t need replacement, getting it regularly serviced can boost its efficiency and save you money.