Around this time every year, HomeStars starts to hear from countless homeowners whose air conditioners, for one reason or another, broke down on some of the hottest days of the summer. While it can be hard to tell when your unit is on the verge of a breakdown, if you look and listen closely you might be able to spot one of these 6 telltale signs that your air conditioner needs to be serviced.
1. Warm Air & Weak Airflow
When you turn on your air conditioner at the start of the summer season, you may notice its airflow is weak or warmer than usual. This could be the result of a number of issues, such as old filters, blocked ductwork, or a damaged compressor, so you’ll need the help of a pro to diagnose the problem. Instead of waiting to see if the issue will work itself out, have a pro come by and give your air conditioner a checkup.
Leaking or moisture around your unit indicates you are dealing with one of two issues. If you’re confident that it is water that is pooling, it is likely the case that the tube that drains condensation from your unit has become blocked or disconnected. However, it could be that your unit is leaking its refrigerant, which is far more dangerous. While it may be tempting to diagnose this issue on your own, the refrigerant is a harsh chemical and should only be dealt with by a specialist. Have a pro come by to inspect what’s causing the excess moisture.
3. It’s Noisy
If you notice that your air conditioner has started making unusual noises like squeaking or grinding, it’s likely that your unit is on its way to a breakdown. Squeaking could mean that its belt has come loose or that it needs more lubricant. Grinding could mean that one of its cogs has broken down. In either case, you’ll need the help of a pro to get the issue repaired before your air conditioner is out of commission.
4. It Smells Bad
Not only is a foul-smelling unit unpleasant, but it can also be dangerous. The most common odours homeowners notice coming from their air conditioners are a metallic, burnt smell or a damp, musty smell. If you notice your machine has started to smell metallic, it could be that there is an issue with the unit’s wiring. If you notice a musty smell coming from your vents or air conditioner, it’s likely a result of a mould problem in your machine or ducts. In both cases, it’s important that you contact a specialist right away before further damage can be done to your air conditioner and your home.
5. High Energy Bills
If you notice your energy bills have steadily grown since the hot weather arrived, it’s likely due to some malfunction in your air conditioner. One of the most common causes of rising energy bills is a short-cycling air conditioner. Short cycling occurs when some issue is preventing your unit from completing a full cooling cycle. This means that your unit is constantly trying and failing to keep up with your thermostat. Because your air conditioner is running far more than usual, your bill will also be higher than usual. The best way to confirm that this is the cause of your sky-high energy bills is to connect with a pro.
6. Your Air Conditioner Uses Freon
Freon, at one time the most common refrigerant in Canada, is now in the process of being phased out of use because of its effect on the ozone layer. It’s production and use is now being carefully monitored by the government, making it significantly more expensive and only accessible to licenced professionals. Whether it’s for environmental or cost-related issues, you may feel it’s time to replace your unit for a newer model. Luckily, HomeStars has hundreds of highly-rated professionals who can install a new unit for you in no time.
If you notice one or more of these signs of disrepair, it’s time to find an HVAC specialist. Don’t wait for your unit to break down over the weekend or a holiday – take the time for maintenance today and avoid a very sweaty situation down the line.