Is your home’s air conditioner not keeping things as cool and comfortable as it used to? Have you noticed it running louder or longer without making much of a difference? Catching small AC problems early can help you avoid bigger headaches when the summer heat is at its worst.

We’ll tell you what to watch and listen for so you can nip common air conditioner issues in the bud. That way, you can call in the pros for repairs before a hot day leaves you sweating it out.

If you spot any of these warning signs from your cooling system, contact an HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the issue. Experienced technicians have seen it all and can get your AC back up and running properly. Now, here’s what to keep an eye and ear out for.

It’s Not Shutting Off as It Should

Your AC is supposed to cycle on and off as needed to maintain your home’s target temperature. If your system runs nonstop without shutting off, that likely means it’s having trouble keeping up.

Some causes for an AC unit that won’t quit include:

  • Low refrigerant levels: Refrigerant is the fluid that allows an AC system to produce cold air. If refrigerant levels fall too low due to leaks or long-term wear and tear, your AC won’t have enough “oomph” to reach the right temperature before the cycle ends.
  • Frozen coils or clogged filters: When air can’t flow properly through your AC system due to frozen internal components or dirty filters, the system has to work overtime trying to keep up with cooling demands.
  • Failing parts: With a fan motor wearing out or compressor issues, your AC will struggle and run continually without ever doing a satisfactory job.

Call an HVAC technician to identify why your system lacks shutoff functionality and make repairs before small problems lead to complete AC failure.

Your Electric Bills Are Higher

Of course, when an air conditioner runs constantly without shutting off, your energy bills will shoot up. But even a properly cycling system that just seems less efficient at cooling your home can cause higher electric bills.

If your energy costs have risen significantly, possible explanations include:

  • Low refrigerant levels
  • Incorrectly sized air conditioner
  • Outdated cooling system that needs replacing

In any of these cases, less-than-efficient operation leads to longer run times and increased energy usage. Keeping your HVAC system well-maintained helps it run as affordably as possible.

You Hear Weird Noises

Unusual noises such as grinding, clunking, or screeching can be an early warning sign that something is wrong. Things like a loose part or a worn-out fan belt could be the source of these noises. Sounds you may hear coming from your AC unit include:

  • Hissing: Refrigerant leaks often create a hissing noise as the fluid escapes the pressurized system. Even small leaks reduce cooling capabilities over time.
  • Banging and clanging: If you hear metal components rattling around inside the condenser unit outside, damage from storms, animals, lawn accidents, or aging materials might be the cause.
  • Screeching: High-pitched screeching suggests that the fan blade is scraping against the housing or a connection issue has caused the motor to struggle as it turns.
  • Grinding/Buzzing: Sounds reminiscent of a failing blender motor point to compressors on their last legs. These vital components are expensive to replace when left unattended for too long.

Trust your intuition if anything seems “off” with your system’s normal operating noises. Identifying odd sounds early prevents avoidable breakdowns during peak AC season.

You Notice Weak Airflow

Poor airflow can have many causes, like dirty air filters, blocked vents, or even failing compressors. If you’re feeling a lack of airflow, be sure to double-check your filters and vents first. If that doesn’t help, it’s time to turn to the professionals. Even when the AC runs continuously, it may fail to get your home as crisp and cool as needed for comfort.

Limited airflow could be the issue if:

  • Vents don’t blow as strongly as expected
  • The house takes longer to cool than in previous years
  • Rooms farther from the central unit feel stuffier

Restricted airflow means your AC has to work harder to circulate enough air for sufficient cooling.

Common airflow blockers include:

  • Clogged air filters
  • Stuck dampers within vents
  • Kinked flexible ductwork
  • Excess dirt or debris accumulation around the exterior unit
  • Supply registers closed in unused rooms

Restoring steady, even airflow helps your AC chill your home efficiently again. Catching small AC problems quickly defuses bigger headaches later during sweltering weather.

You See Leaking or Puddles of Water

You might see water pooling around your outdoor unit or inside, near your indoor evaporator coil. Clogged drain lines, dirty evaporator coils, and malfunctioning condensate pumps can lead to water leaks and pooling. If you notice water leaks around the base of the system, call an HVAC technician promptly to prevent further damage to the air conditioner or the growth of mold or mildew.

Regardless of the cause, leaks can cause significant damage to your home. That’s why it’s best to be proactive and address this issue right away.

You Smell Odd Odors

If you start noticing odd odors whenever your AC turns on, don’t ignore them. Unusual scents often point to problems like electrical issues or mold buildup. Some smelly signs of potential air conditioner trouble include:

  • Burning plastic smell: An odor reminiscent of melting plastic could indicate motor or wiring problems in your unit. If left unchecked, failures can become fire hazards.
  • Rotten eggs: The stench of sulfur usually means a refrigerant leak. If enough escapes, your AC will lose the capacity to keep things cool.
  • Mildew or mold: The dampness that condensation creates inside household cooling equipment sometimes fosters mold growth. Air contaminants can then circulate through ductwork.
  • Fishy scent: Heat exchanges picking up trace organic matter can create fish-like odors. You will need professional cleaning to remove the source of the stink.

Keep all your senses on alert for odd behavior from your home’s cooling system. Subtle signs like higher energy bills and inconsistent air circulation might not mean a full system failure, but they still warrant attention from an HVAC technician. Don’t ignore the early warnings!

When to Call an HVAC Company

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to call the pros at Specialty Heating & Cooling LLC to take a look and make any necessary repairs. We’re a family-owned and operated heating and cooling company that’s been in business for nearly 40 years. We recently earned our 13th Carrier’s President’s Award.

Our team of experienced technicians is here to help you keep your AC system in Tigard, OR running smoothly, so you can enjoy a cool and comfortable home all summer long! We service all makes and models of air conditioners and heat pumps. Our skilled technicians can diagnose problems accurately and give recommendations tailored to your home’s needs.

We also offer services related to indoor air quality, water heaters, and generators. With our help, you can preempt major AC breakdowns this summer. Ask us about our AC maintenance too!

Schedule service with Specialty Heating & Cooling LLC to keep your home feeling cool throughout the dog days ahead!

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