Three quarters of all homes in America have air conditioning systems, costing homeowners more than $29 billion per year. Air conditioning systems account for 6% of the total amount of electricity produced in the United States. These figures highlight how important air conditioning systems are in the American home, particularly when you consider the fact that it is more common to have an air conditioning unit than a dishwasher, garage, or dining room.
The reality is that air conditioning is an essential of daily life, particularly in hot Atlantic states like Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Like many conveniences, it is easy to forget the significant impact it makes on our standard of living until we find ourselves with a system that needs repaired.
Statistics show that less than half of homeowners in the U.S. hire a professional to maintain or service their air conditioning unit. However, those that do retain a professional service enjoy a more efficient air conditioning system with a longer lifespan. An inefficient system uses more energy, meaning that your bills are constantly climbing month after month. A system not maintained by professionals also doesn’t condition your home’s air as effectively, preventing your family from enjoying the full advantages of the coolness or warmth of a unit. Professional air conditioning repairs can save on costs in the long run because problems only grow more complex and expensive over time if you fail to address them early.
If you want to ensure you and your family don’t have to endure the summer months dripping in sweat and kicking off the covers at night, it’s important to keep your eye out for these four signs that your air conditioning system needs repair work:
The Air Isn’t Cool Enough
If you can hear the telltale noises your air conditioning unit makes, but you’re still finding your house much too warm, this is a sure sign that your system needs repair work. This is one of the most common problems for homeowners who have an air conditioning unit. The unit will appear to be functioning because it turns on and off as it should, but it just isn’t cooling the air to the extent you would like.
The first thing you need to do is to conduct a quick check of the system. Before calling a professional, check the air filters and the registers to make sure they’re not blocked or clogged. Blockage in any part of the system can interfere with the air flow, limiting its functionality and effectiveness.
The moment you realize that nothing is causing a blockage, it’s time to contact someone to check your system. An HVAC professional called to deal with an ineffective system will usually carry out a checklist of potential problems that are causing the restricted air flow. For example, they will check the air compressor for any imperfections, assess the refrigerant line or blower fan, and check the air handler. Finally, they will check the circuit breaker and thermostat.
The underlying cause of an AC unit that functions but doesn’t moderate temperature to the desired level is usually found in one of the aforementioned components. Hiring a professional to service and check your AC unit on a regular basis will prevent this from ever becoming a problem, so that you can enjoy an air conditioning system that keeps you nice and cool.
According to the setting you’ve chosen, your air conditioning unit is supposed to cool the entire living environment to the same temperature throughout. If some rooms are frigid while others are reminiscent of the equator, this is telltale a sign that your air conditioning unit may be in need of repair. Although it is possible that some rooms may be naturally cooler than others due to the layout and design of the house, the problem here could stem from the thermostat itself. For example, rooms with a high ratio of windows will generally be significantly warmer in the summer due to natural lighting. However, if the disparity between the room temperatures seems more drastic than can be fully explained by these possibilities, your air conditioning system likely needs repair work.
A fully functioning air conditioning system will make a small amount of noise when running, especially when it turns on. However, if you notice any strange sounds coming from the unit, particularly grinding, squeaking, or grating sounds, there are a number of issues that could be the cause. For example, the components may be grinding together without sufficient lubrication, or the belt may have slipped out of place. Both of these issues are not difficult for a professional to fix in and of themselves, but left unattended they could create a much bigger problem. Moreover, a grinding sound could suggest that the bearings in the motor are broken. Any strange sounds that are emitted from your air conditioning system should be taken seriously as they are a sign that your system is in need of repairs.
There are two main types of strange smells that suggest problems with your air conditioning unit. First, if there is a particularly pungent smell coming from the system, you’ll want to ensure that the insulation surrounding the wires has not burned out. In this situation, it is recommended to hire a professional and not try to fix the problem yourself, as the bare wires can be dangerous.
The second type of smell you might notice emitting from your air conditioning unit is a musty smell. This is the same kind of smell you notice when you walk into an old house that hasn’t been lived in for years, or in your own house if you experience a problem with mold. A musty smell coming from your air conditioning system usually means that there is the presence of mold somewhere within the unit or ductwork. Mold can create serious problems for your health and air quality if not addressed immediately, although this issue is not as dangerous as exposed circuitry in the immediate future.
For optimal performance and comfort, it is recommended that you have your air conditioning system serviced on a regular basis—even if it seems to be in perfect working order. If you notice any faults in your system, the best way to resolve them is to hire a trained and licensed professional who is qualified to work with the complex components of your system.This will ensure that it is repaired and maintained effectively for years to come