Air Conditioning Repair: 6 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

image of HVAC tech working on a compressor

A functioning air conditioner is an essential luxury for many homeowners once the summer begins. So when the heating and cooling system isn’t working correctly, it can be a significant problem. Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious when your air conditioner shows signs of malfunctioning. There are signs, but not everybody knows what to look for.

Air conditioning repair services can get pricey and complicated when severe problems occur. But with proper maintenance and care, most problems are relatively easy for a professional to fix. The key for homeowners is to know the warning signs so they can contact an AC professional before the situation escalates. Here are some of the most common signs that could indicate you need AC repair services.

Signs You Need an AC Repair Service

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1) Cycling Too Frequently

Every time you hear your air conditioner start, run for a few minutes, then stop, it has gone through a cooling cycle. Your AC should do this throughout the day to maintain a consistent, comfortable temperature in your home. You should expect to notice more cooling cycles on especially hot days. But if you notice it running cooling cycles with unusual frequency, that could be a sign of malfunction.

It may be difficult to assess whether or not your condensing unit is running too often if it’s new to you. If you’re unsure, you can always ask an HVAC repair technician what an appropriate number of cooling cycles is. If you’ve had your AC unit for a while and notice it running more frequent cycles than usual, that could be a cause for concern. Don’t hesitate to schedule a repair or inspection if this is the case. Even if there’s nothing wrong, it’s better to check early rather than waiting to see if it gets worse.

2) Moisture Around Unit

Your heating and air conditioning unit depends on condensation to function properly. But any moisture it generates should be contained inside the unit. If you notice moisture building up around the unit, that could signify significant problems. The worst-case scenario is a refrigerant leak, a severe problem that should be fixed immediately. A leaky refrigerant line can release harmful chemicals into your home. Thus, a professional should handle any potential moisture problems around your unit.

Even in less severe cases, moisture build-up isn’t good and indicates that you need an air conditioning repair service. Moisture is a sign that something is mechanically wrong with your AC unit. And, on its own, the moisture build-up can lead to mold or mildew in the home.

3) AC Unit Emitting Strange Odors

A properly functioning air conditioner unit will emit no scent on its own. If you trace any peculiar odors to your air conditioner, it could be a sign of trouble.

The most common smell is a musty odor emitted by the AC systems. This is usually a sign that mold or mildew has built up inside. If you notice this smell, even if it’s faint, it’s best to act fast. Mold and mildew both spread when left alone, and the longer it goes untreated, the bigger the problem will become.

Mold and mildew inside your AC are usually caused by a build-up of water in the drain pan. A musty smell may also signify that your air filters need to be changed or your air ducts need to be cleaned.

Smell Gas?

More alarming odors from your AC unit are scents like car exhaust or gas. These can often be signs of serious mechanical problems that may expose you to harmful chemicals. A car exhaust odor from your air conditioner might be another sign of a leaking refrigerant line. As mentioned above, this is both a serious mechanical problem and a health risk for you. If you detect this odor from your AC, contact an HVAC professional immediately.

Similarly, if you detect a pungent gas-like smell from your air conditioner, your unit is leaking gas. Disable the unit and your gas source and immediately contact a professional to inspect the problem. A gas leak in your air conditioner is perhaps the most serious mechanical problem you can encounter. Though rare, knowing how to detect it and what to do if a leak occurs is essential.

Other strange odors from your air conditioner unit could have any number of causes. If you detect any strong scent from the AC, it’s best to schedule an inspection.

4) Unusual Noises From Unit

Strange noises can be a bit tricky to identify. Whether you own a central air conditioner or a ductless mini-split, it should make some noise. Distinguishing between “normal” noises and “abnormal” ones can sometimes take a discerning ear.

For instance, if you hear a harsh rattling or buzzing noise coming from your unit, that’s not a good sign. Rattling noises often indicate a loose part of debris inside the unit. This can impact your AC’s ability to correctly gauge and moderate the temperature. A common cause of this problem is worn or dirty air filters.

A buzzing noise from your AC unit is usually a sign of an electrical problem, and this requires the work of a professional air conditioner repair service technician.

5) Increased Utility Bills

Sometimes the first clue that there’s something wrong with your air conditioner comes when it’s time to pay the bill. There could be several causes for increased utility bills, so avoiding leaping to conclusions is best. However, it’s important to note that this is a common sign of HVAC system troubles.

Simply put, if your air conditioner isn’t running efficiently, it will require more energy to keep the home cool. This may not necessarily mean there’s anything mechanically wrong with it. Your home’s insulation, air circulation, and uncovered windows can affect your AC’s efficiency.

If you have otherwise unexplained increases in your electricity bills, it may be a sign that there’s something mechanically wrong with your AC. In this case, scheduling an inspection never hurts before the problem worsens.

6) Warm Air

We saved the most obvious sign for last. You use your air conditioner because you want cool air in the home. Something isn’t working right if you find that it’s emitting warm air or not distributing cool air evenly. Uneven temperatures throughout the house could be a sign of mechanical failure. 

In other cases, it might mean your air conditioning unit is too small or too large for your home. If you notice any inconsistencies in temperature, you should schedule a heating and cooling service.

Air Conditioning Repair Near Me

If you need air conditioning repair services in southwestern Washington or northern Oregon, let Service Patriots help you. Our air conditioning repair services cover any problems, from routine maintenance to major repairs. With over 20 years of experience, Service Patriots’ HVAC professionals are reliable experts who can help you be comfortable in your home. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you notice any signs of air conditioner malfunction.

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