On a hot summer day, air conditioning can be a true lifesaver—as long as it’s working properly.
By far the best way to ensure that your cooling system will work properly and keep you cool all summer long (and also save money in the long run), is to schedule a professional tune-up at the start of Summer. However, even if you missed that, you can also avoid an unpleasant surprise by taking a moment to understand the warning signs that your air conditioner may be failing, and the steps you can take to prevent a full breakdown before it happens.
Here are five signs of a potential problem with your air conditioning system:
1. Increased energy bills
An air conditioner that isn’t working at peak efficiency works harder to achieve the proper temperature, and as a result uses more energy. If your energy bills are increasing over previous Summers, and your home seems takes longer to cool, this could indicate that your system is failing.
2. The air coming from the vents isn’t cold
This may be obvious, but the air blowing through the vents in your home should feel cool. If you notice that the air coming from your vents is no longer as cold as previous years (or of course, if it’s not cool at all!), have your system checked out by a professional. The problem could be a simple fix like adding more refrigerant, or something more serious.
3. Weak airflow from your vents
Limited airflow could indicate an issue with the compressor. It may also mean that your air ducts and/or furnace filter is dirty. Dust and debris can build up in either or both places and prevent air from flowing properly. Without proper air flow, your indoor coils can actually freeze, bringing your system to an abrupt halt. Leaky air ducts also prevent the conditioned air from reaching your home’s living spaces, instead cooling the inside of walls and attics!
4. Strange noises coming from the AC unit
Air conditioners are designed to run quietly. Squealing, grinding or grating sounds coming from the outdoor condensing unit are a clear indication of malfunction. Have a technician check out any unusual noises as soon as possible. Correcting the problem early (for example, by re-balancing the fan) can prevent a costly breakdown later on.
5. Leakage around the air conditioning unit
Any leaks should be addressed immediately. Water pooling around the unit may be caused by a clogged or broken drain tube. The presence of water or moisture can lead to mold growth. Water dripping inside the unit may come from ice melting. If the drip pan is full, or you hear chunks of ice falling, call your HVAC technician right away. Either of these can cause significant damage to your air conditioner. A refrigerant leak also requires immediate attention. Refrigerant leaks pose serious health risks and can also indicate a major problem with your system.
Any of the above signs warrant a service call. For increased peace of mind, however, be sure to schedule an annual tune-up by one of our licensed HVAC technicians. Doing so will greatly diminish the likelihood of emergency repairs or a costly replacement, extend the life of your air conditioner, and will also save you money on energy costs!
Schedule a service appointment!