Summer is almost officially here, and if the recent heat wave is any indication, we’re going to be using our air conditioners pretty regularly in the coming months. As such, you need your cooling system to perform as expected when it’s under extreme pressure. The last thing you need, after all, is a sudden breakdown and repair call just when the temperatures hit their peak.
The good news with this is that most cooling system problems give out signs and symptoms long before they force the system to shut down entirely. And while you should never attempt to formally diagnose or repair a malfunctioning air conditioner on your own (they contain dangerous components such as refrigerant that requires special training and licensing to manage safely), you can still spot the signs that you need AC repair. Here are five fairly common signs that you do:
1. Low Airflow
Conditioned air that’s not moving through your vents with the speed you can expect can be a big problem. It typically means that cold air is trapped somewhere within the system, which can cause the coils to freeze over and create even more issues.
Even if that doesn’t happen, the reduced airflow means your system has to work harder than it should in order to cool your home. First, check your air filter. If it is too clogged up and hasn’t been changed in the last couple months, this may be the cause. Otherwise, it’s likely time to give us a call.
2. Reduced Cooling Levels
Low refrigerant levels, overheating components, or damage to your ductwork can all reduce your air conditioner’s ability to cool the air in your living space. You can detect this simply by noting if the air coming out of your vents is warmer than you’d expect. It’s a problem for the same reason that low airflow is an issue—it forces your cooling system to work too hard!
This is the name of the process where an air conditioning system turns on and off numerous times without running very long. AC systems use more energy turning on and off than they do simply running. That said, you typically want yours to run at least 15 minutes at a time … otherwise it’s the sign of something seriously wrong.
4. Odd Sounds
A weird noise can be anything from humming or moaning to buzzing or clanging—pretty much, anything that doesn’t match the normal noises coming from your system as it runs. These sounds usually start and stop in time with the starting and stopping of the air conditioner.
5. Higher Than Average Energy Bills
Sometimes, an AC problem doesn’t show obvious trouble, but it can translate into excess energy being drained. If this is the case, you’ll probably notice the problem by spotting an unexpected increase in your monthly utility bills—especially if you haven’t run your AC system any more this year than you did this time last year.