Recognizing Common Air Conditioner Warning Signs

Don't get stuck with a broken A/C and relying on fans to cool off like this pup. Keep an eye out for these common air conditioner warning signs this summer!

While cooling season is well under way in Minnesota, we know all too well that the worst is yet to come. We’ll be putting more demand on our A/C systems over the next few months, so being able to detect issues early on is crucial in preventing a hazard or complete breakdown. Watch for these common air conditioner warning signs and know when it’s time to call a heating and cooling expert.

Higher Utility Bills

Utility bills will naturally increase as you extend the demand on your HVAC system in the cooling (and heating) season. However, if they seem to be rising inexplicably, take note of your gas or electricity rate and usage. If these haven’t increased as well, your system likely has an issue that’s decreasing its efficiency. Contact your local HVAC professionals to determine the cause and how to fix it.

Weak, Warm, or Uneven Air Distribution

This one’s pretty straightforward: When your thermostat is set to a cool temperature, your system should be blowing cool air, producing enough of it, and evenly distributing it throughout the home. Warm air coming from your vents could indicate restricted airflow or an issue with the compressor, which will require diagnosis and repair from an HVAC technician.

Your A/C may be blowing cool air, but is it doing so sufficiently and evenly? Properly sized systems are designed to cool the entire home. If you notice insufficient airflow, you may have a clogged filter or blockage in your ductwork that requires professional maintenance. Remember to change (or clean, if re-usable) your air filter monthly and schedule professional duct cleaning every three to five years.

Constant Cycling

Regular on/off cooling cycles are normal for your air conditioner, and more should be expected during extreme heat. However, the system should not be cycling on and off around the clock. While a simple tune-up may do the trick and resolve the constant cycles, in some cases they can mean it’s time for a new A/C.

Decreased Air Quality

HVAC systems maintain air quality as well as temperature inside the home. Decreased indoor air quality can point to an HVAC issue but isn’t always obvious or easy to diagnose. Be on the lookout for common signs:

  • Worsening allergy or asthma symptoms
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Frequent coughing or sneezing
  • Air that feels stuffy or stale
  • Increased humidity in the home

Indoor air quality plays a crucial role in a healthy home environment. If you notice any of these warning signs, contact an HVAC expert for official diagnosis and repair.

Pooling Water Near A/C Unit

While your air conditioner uses refrigerant to cool the home and may produce some condensation, liquids should never leak from or accumulate near the unit. These important warning signs should be addressed right away as they can damage the home or even lead to serious structural issues if ignored.

Odd Noises and/or Smells

Minor, low-level noises are normal as air conditioners cycle on and off. However, loud, sudden, or unusual noises should not be ignored. Rattling or buzzing may mean you have a loose or worn part, but whistling, squealing, or grating/grinding can indicate a more serious issue.

Unusual, foul odors in the home are unpleasant and can signal serious issues with your A/C or HVAC system:

  • Rotten egg smells may likely mean a natural gas leak, which can be very dangerous and should be addressed by a professional ASAP.
  • Electrical or burning smells can be caused by various issues with the internal components of your A/C unit. Contact a professional immediately to prevent any potential electrical fires.
  • Moldy or musty smells may result from moisture escaping from the unit and into ductwork. Breathing mold is unsafe, and leaks should be repaired to prevent further issues.

While regular scheduled maintenance helps prevent complications in the cooling season, there’s no way to guarantee an issue-free summer. But knowing these common air conditioner warning signs will help you catch issues early on and avoid bigger, major problems that can leave you with no cool air and an expensive bill to get it back. When it comes to residential HVAC service, rely on the experienced professionals at Stafford Home Service. Visit our website and contact us for more information or to schedule service.



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