10 Signs Your AC Needs Repair (or to Be Replaced)

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signs your AC needs repair

A new unit may be the answer for your AC troubles!

Madd Air Heating Cooling

10 Signs Your AC Needs Repair (or to Be Replaced)

Knowing the signs your AC needs repair can prevent more significant repairs or even failure. Catching a problem early within your HVAC system is important. Be attentive to how your AC is functioning, and it could save you money and frustration of bigger problems. So, check in on your AC system periodically and be familiar with these 10 signs your AC needs repair (or to be replaced).

Sign #1: Little to no air flow

This may be the most obvious of the signs your AC needs repair. If you cannot feel any air coming out of the vents or the air flow is very weak, the flow will not circulate properly in the room. This means that the home will not cool properly. In Houston, that means that you and your family will get uncomfortable very quickly. This sign of weak air flow often indicates a problem with either the compressor or air ducts and is something that your HVAC tech should evaluate. This will ensure he or she is able to repair the problem appropriately.

Sign #2: AC is blowing warm air

signs your AC needs repair

Hot air should blow in balloons, not your home in the summer!

The temperatures outside climb high in the summer in our area. You have an HVAC system in place to keep your family cool and comfortable. However, if your system is blowing warm air, it is definitely not going to keep you comfortable in the summer. Warm air coming from your vents is one of the signs your AC needs repair. It could indicate a problem with the compressor (meaning the compressor isn’t cooling the air correctly) or that your system is low on refrigerant. It could even mean that you have a duct problem somewhere that is pulling air from outside or an attic space rather than from the compressor. This is another problem that your trusted HVAC tech should be able to pinpoint and repair accordingly for you.

Sign #3: Unpleasant odors coming from the AC

Your HVAC system is supposed to keep you comfortable, not make your family sick. However, that is just what it can do if you are noticing an unusual or unpleasant odor when it blows air. Unpleasant odors are definitely one of the signs your AC needs repair. They can be indicators of multiple issues, but two of these issues are electrical issues and mold contamination. If you smell a musty smell from your AC, there is likely mold in your system somewhere, and blowing the spores into your home will cause it to spread and also make your family very sick. However, if you notice a strong burning smell, there is a good chance you may have a problem with the electrical wiring or the insulation around it in the unit.

Sign #4: Unusual sounds coming from the AC

There are a number of different sounds that come from your AC, any of which can be one of the signs your AC needs repair. Most of them are likely to come from your outdoor unit when it runs, but if you notice any unusual sounds while your AC is running, you should still call your HVAC technician. Here are a few of the sounds and what they might possibly mean for your AC system:

  • Clicking from the outdoor unit as it runs. This could mean there is a small obstruction in the fan of your outdoor unit. You should inspect the fan and remove anything that could be striking it as it runs.
  • Clicking from outdoor unit and won’t turn on. This clicking sound could indicate an electrical problem in one or more of the system components.
  • Bubbling or gurgling noise. Your condensate drain line is likely gurgling. If this is your only problem, it will likely not cause any bigger problems. However, you may also have a refrigerant leak that would lead to bigger issues.
  • Clanging or banging sound from the outdoor unit. This noise is likely an indicator that the fan in your outdoor unit is hitting something. There may be a larger obstruction or the mount of the fan may have come loose. If that is the case, the wobbling is causing it to hit the protective cage around it.
  • Squealing sound coming from the indoor unit. A squealing noise is usually a good indicator there is a problem with your fan belt. The sound may come and go, making you think that it’s not a big problem. However, if the belt is damaged, eventually it will break, which would leave you with no working AC. So, with all these noises. It is better to get it fixed when you hear it before it causes larger issues.
  • Metal on metal screeching. If you hear this sound, it is likely coming from your outdoor unit. The metal on metal sound can often be caused by the fan motor bearings going out on your outdoor unit. This repair will likely require replacing the fan.
  • High-pitched hissing or screaming. This sound is likely from your compressor. This sound can indicate a high-pressure buildup in the system, which can be very dangerous. Your system should be equipped with a safety shut off switch to automatically shut your system down if this is the case. However, if your system continues to try to function, it is best to turn off your system until your HVAC technician arrives.

signs your AC needs repair

Sign #5: Malfunctioning thermostat

The thermostat is the “brain” of the HVAC system, telling which components to function and for how long. It is constantly measuring and reevaluating those instructions. If your AC system is not turning on or only runs for short periods of time before shutting off, your thermostat may be to blame. Problems with your thermostat is definitely one of the signs your AC needs repair. Your thermostat may need to be replaced to ensure your system can run accurately again.

Sign #6: Frequent repairs

If you notice that you’ve had to repair multiple components of your system or unit in the last few months, it may be time to consider replacement. There is no point in continuing to pay for repairs if they are only prolonging the life of the unit by short periods of time. Your technician should be able to advise you on the overall state of your system. While we understand that it is not always immediately in the budget to replace a system, if your old unit or system is limping along requiring many repairs, it is likely more economical to go ahead with the replacement.

Sign #7: Humidity in the home

If there is one thing we know in Houston, it is humidity. If you find that your HVAC system is no longer helping to reduce the humidity in your home, it is time to call your HVAC repair company. This is one of the signs your AC needs repair that can be most dangerous. That’s because humidity fosters mold and mildew growth and can cause multiple other issues for your family’s health. This aspect of the HVAC system’s function is essential to your family’s health.

Sign #8: Moisture leaks in or around HVAC system

Sometimes when you see moisture around your system, it may just be condensate. However, if you notice a buildup or odd color, it is time to call for repair. The most serious type of leak you may experience would be a refrigerant leak. Refrigerants are poisonous, so any refrigerant leak is cause for concern. If you have a condensate leak, the drain line for condensate may be blocked or broken. These are also signs your AC needs repair and issues that you should address promptly.

Sign #9: Spikes in utility costs

If your power bill suddenly shoots up inexplicably, the efficiency of your HVAC system could be dropping. It is normal for utility bills to rise in the summer with higher temperatures. However, if you notice a rise that does not seem in sync with the increased use of your AC, it wouldn’t hurt for your HVAC tech to check things out. There could be a problem in your ductwork or thermostat, or your unit may be reaching the end of its life.

signs your AC needs repair

A new unit may be the answer for your AC troubles!

Sign #10: Age of your system

The last of the signs your ac needs repair is the age of your current unit. Typically, ten years is a good life expectancy of an air conditioning unit in 2018. If your unit is already approaching or past ten years of life, you might want to consider a new unit. The expense of replacement could be significant, but a new unit will also function much more efficiently. More efficient function will save money in utility cost and headaches of repairs.

HVAC systems are complex and require a lot of properly functioning components. This means there are a lot of components that could need repair. However, if you watch for signs and stay vigilant to the function of your HVAC system, you may be able to catch early signs before they become big problems.

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