It is never a good thing to figure out your AC unit is not performing as desired once the heat of the summer is already at hand. You and your family will be much happier if you are able to uncover any potential problems with your air conditioner in the weeks or months leading up to the hottest parts of the summer. Fortunately, there are a number of signs that will warn you of pending trouble with your AC unit.
If the vents in your home are blowing warm air, you should first adjust the thermostat to a temperature that is lower than the temperature inside your home at the time. If there is no change in the temperature of the air produced by your AC unit, the problem is likely with your compressor or involves restricted airflow of some kind.
Lack of Air Flow
A number of causes can be at play if your AC system is not pushing enough air into your home. The first place to look is at the fan that is responsible for sending the air through your system’s ductwork. A few possible problems with fans are dirty or clogged filters, damaged fan control boards, and malfunction blower motors. If none of these issues seem to be the problem and you still experience insufficient airflow, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.
Homeowners whose systems suffer from chronically insufficient airflow may want to look to solutions like zoning systems and energy recovery ventilators.
Problems With Humidity
The sticky weather in the spring and summer that is present outdoors should not be present inside your home. One of the jobs of a properly functioning air conditioner is to regulate the level of humidity in your home.
If your AC system proves unable to maintain a comfortable range for moisture in your home, there may be a serious problem with your AC system.
You should pay attention to any unusual noises made by your AC unit. Some of the most common noises you might hear and potential causes attached to these noises are:
- Screaming – Commonly caused by a buildup of pressure in the compressor. This is a potentially dangerous situation and you should shut the unit off until you can get a professional to take a look.
- Clanging and Knocking – If you hear a clanging sound when you turn your outdoor unit on that is not present when the thermostat is set to “fan,” it is more than likely that the fan used to cool the outside unit is banging against an obstruction of some type. This is another time you should turn off your unit until help arrives.
- Gurgling – If your AC makes a gurgling sound and you are unable to find where the sound is coming from, the source of the sound is likely a refrigerant leak or some type of problem with the condensate drain line.
- Screeching – When your unit makes a screaming noise that sounds like metal on metal, this is a sign that the motor bearings inside the unit needs to be replaced. Your unit will run in this condition but it is best to call a repairman as soon as possible.
There are a number of problems that could cause your air conditioner to produce a foul odor. These problems range in seriousness from minor inconveniences to legitimate emergencies.
The most common cause of a foul-smelling air conditioner is mildew. If your AC unit gives off a moldy smell when turned on, more than likely there is mold or mildew growing in or around the unit. The problem could be as simple as a dirty filter or as serious as water accumulating within the system.
A rotten egg smell in your home could alert you to the presence of a dead animal in your system. Animals often take refuge within an AC system and will begin to decompose in a short while if the end of their life comes while inside your unit.
Other odors that mean trouble for your AC system include skunk-like odors, the smell of gunpowder, and a smell that is similar to exhaust fumes.
Many people do not think of their AC system until the unit malfunctions. But sometimes, the symptoms of your system’s malfunction will demand your immediate attention. The five symptoms above are clear signs your AC system needs repair.