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3 Signs It May Be Time for AC Repair or Replacement

Summer is in full swing, meaning most homeowners run their air conditioners daily to fight off the heat. So naturally, with the near-constant usage, this is the time of year when AC breakdowns and malfunctions are most likely to occur. And if the air conditioner goes out in the middle of a hot afternoon, homeowners could be left sweating while waiting for an AC repair technician to arrive.

Fortunately, air conditioners rarely break down without warning – even if the signs aren’t always obvious. So to help homeowners catch AC problems before they can culminate in a broken-down unit, here are a few signs that an air conditioner might need repairs (or replacement)!

The House Doesn’t Get Cool Enough

One of the most obvious signs of a broken AC is if the unit runs, but the home never gets cool enough. If this is the case, the air vents may be blowing warm, very little, or even no air. There are several possible explanations for this. If homeowners are lucky, it may mean they should change their air filter, as a dirty filter can dramatically impede airflow.

But often, the problem may be dirty evaporator/condenser coils (which prevents the AC from removing indoor heat and releasing it outdoors), dirty or leaky air ducts, a refrigerant leak, a problem with the air blower motor, or a faulty compressor. Depending on the issue’s severity and the unit’s age, air conditioning replacement may be the more economical option.

Unusually High Energy Bills

Another sign of trouble that’s not quite as easy to spot is if the energy bills are higher than normal. The HVAC system typically accounts for most of a home’s energy usage, so the AC unit is the first place to look when the bills spike unexpectedly. An air conditioner can suffer a loss in efficiency for several reasons.

A lack of maintenance is one of the most common causes of poor efficiency, as components get dirty, lubrication dries out, and parts wear down. Leaks or obstructions in the ductwork are other common culprits. Faulty or malfunctioning components may need to be repaired or replaced. AC units also tend to lose efficiency with age due to normal wear and tear, so if it’s an older system, this may be the problem. This can be tricky to diagnose, so homeowners with high energy bills would do well to schedule an inspection with their trusted HVAC company.

Strange Sounds or Odors Coming from the Vents

One more common indicator of a major HVAC issue is if unusual noises or strange odors are coming from the vents (or the unit itself). These can point to a broken air conditioner or a serious issue with the home’s air ducts.

Clanging or banging sounds could indicate a loose or damaged component – if it’s coming from the indoor air handler unit, the blower fan is likely damaged. Still, suppose it’s coming from the outdoor condenser unit. A piston or other component inside the compressor may necessitate AC replacement (since compressors typically can’t be repaired). Squealing or screeching noises may indicate a dangerous pressure issue or simply a belt or bearing needing lubrication. Whistling or hissing may indicate a refrigerant leak or an air duct leak.

In terms of smells, homeowners should be alarmed if they notice musty smells, mildew odors, burning smells, or smoke from the vents. Musty or mildew odors may indicate that the air ducts or the air handler unit have been contaminated with mold growth, vermin, or bacteria. Burning smells or smoke indicates that there may be an electrical fault or excessive friction inside the unit. In the latter case, homeowners should immediately turn the system off and call a professional for AC repair, as this can pose a serious fire hazard.

About Daniels Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, LLC

Since opening its doors in 2010, Daniels Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, LLC has become one of Santa Fe’s most trusted and highly-rated HVAC contractors. Their trustworthy, licensed technicians always arrive on time and work efficiently to get homeowners back to their routines as quickly and painlessly as possible. They offer up-front pricing, 24/7 emergency service, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee on every job – so don’t hesitate to call them for air conditioning repair in Santa Fe, NM!