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Is Your A/C Winding Down Just as Summer Heats Up? 8 Warning Signs to Watch For

sweaty man due to broken ac

Summer is not the season to have your air conditioner suddenly conk out on you.

Yet of course this is the time of year when A/C outages are most likely to occur, since you are using the heck out of it as temperatures climb.

If you do experience an A/C outage, don’t panic. We are just a phone call away and we can get you back up and running (and cooling down) in a jiffy.

But if you know the most common warning signs to watch for, you may be able to stave off an actual outage by making some timely air conditioning repairs.

In this post, learn about eight warning signs that your air conditioner needs maintenance.

1. You start hearing things

An air conditioner in the prime of its life that is running smoothly isn’t going to be “talking” to you. And while it can be tempting to ignore the first minor attempts your A/C unit makes to strike up a conversation, you can be sure that if a whisper doesn’t work, it will escalate to a yell.

Bangs, clangs, squeaking, clanks, rattles, buzzing, whining and low-level white noise – these are all clear signs that your air conditioner needs some overdue attention.

2. Your house smells… funny

Many homeowners don’t initially notice this warning sign because it is easy to get acclimated to your home’s “homey” odour. Using fragranced candles, air fresheners and perfumed household cleaning products can also mask the scent of an air conditioner that is starting to stink.

But if one day you walk inside your home and your nose wrinkles, and all efforts you make to locate the source of the scent still leaves you coming up short, the culprit might be your HVAC system.

If you have central air conditioning that uses a system of ducts, the issue might also be microbial matter (mould, mildew, bacteria) that has colonized your ducts and is sending out its unique stinky signature along with each blast of cooled air.

3. Your home seems more humid

Humidity often increases in the warm summer months, but if your air conditioning system is working properly, you should only feel it when you are outside your house. When your indoor air starts to seem warmer and more humid no matter how much you run your A/C, this may point back to a problem with the air conditioning unit itself.

Older homes with lots of natural ventilation (leaks, cracks) may also benefit from refreshing the weatherstripping, caulking or insulation. In newer homes built to be airtight, the addition of a heat recovery ventilator can help your air conditioner cope with a lack of natural ventilation.

4. The air coming out of your registers feels warm

If there is one deeply dissatisfying experience most homeowners are familiar with, it is running a cooling cycle only to feel warm air blowing out of your registers and vents! Why does this happen?

It could be any number of things, from restricted air flow to a refrigerant leak to an accidental nudge of the thermostat setting from “cool” to “fan” mode.

Anytime refrigerant issues are involved, it is always best to call a pro. Refrigerant may work wonders for cooling down your indoor air, but it is a potent toxin and should only be handled by a professional who knows how to work with it and dispose of it safely.

5. You start to miss the sound of silence between A/C cycles

An air conditioner that never seems to stop running is not only burning a hole through your wallet energy-wise, but it also probably isn’t doing its best work in keeping your home cool.

Too-frequent A/C cycles can point to anything from an improperly sized or installed unit to a simple need for a cleaning and some minor repairs.

6. You hear your A/C working but very little air comes out of your registers.

When your air conditioner is running but you don’t feel much air coming through your registers, this doesn’t always mean your air conditioner itself is malfunctioning. It could also signal an issue with blocked air ducts or simply a dirty air filter.

But there are times when the air conditioner itself is to blame, and often the reason is a malfunctioning blower motor.

7. Your ceiling springs a leak

Finding a water leak inside your home is one of the most stressful experiences you can go through as a homeowner. It can also turn into one of the most expensive issues if you don’t quickly find and remedy the issue.

When your air conditioner starts leaking, it could be something simple like a blocked drainage hose or an overflowing drip pan. But it could also mean there is a refrigerant leak somewhere in your system, and this always requires some help from an HVAC pro.

8. Your cooling bills start increasing

Keeping a close eye on your energy bills can give you an early heads-up that your A/C isn’t doing its best work. When all else remains the same but you start paying more to keep your home cool, it is time to schedule A/C maintenance!

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