10 Signs You Need AC Repairs

Woman fanning on couch


Summer may be drawing to a close but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about staying cool. August and September can still have temperatures in the 80s in the Midwest. (Think: Indian Summers.) Plus, it’s good to think ahead, because you don’t want to be caught without a working AC by the time next summer rolls around and you’re sweating bullets.

That said, it’s important to be proactive to keep your home cool and comfortable. And while maintenance does make a major difference, it won’t stop every potential AC repair. That is where our trained and experienced HVAC technicians come into the picture (and sometimes to the rescue).

Being able to determine if and when your air conditioner needs a repair service is going to be more beneficial than you might realize. With that in mind, here are several signs that your air conditioner is crying for help and likely needs professional service.

1. Your unit makes loud, strange noises.
Your central air conditioner should be relatively quiet. If it sounds like something from a horror movie, you’re going to need to call in the pros. Screeching, squealing, hissing, clanging, or any other sounds can indicate that something is amiss and you should call to get an inspection.

2. The air in your home is dusty.
Here’s a clear sign your unit needs some attention: When you turn on your air conditioner, can you see the air as it flows out of your vents? This means there’s a large amount of dust and debris built up within your ductwork. You don’t want to leave anything to chance, as a clog can impact your airflow and your home comfort while decreasing your indoor air quality. That’s why it’s a good idea to have your ducts cleaned and checked for any leaks every few years. Your lungs will thank you.

3. The airflow from your vents is weak or barely there.
When you put your hand over a vent, you should feel ample going out unrestricted. If it feels lagging, there are a few possible reasons for this issue. For example, you might have leaky ductwork or by a blower fan that is no longer operating. In either case, running your AC system and never having the conditioned air circulate is a waste of money and can lead to further decline.

4. Your energy bills skyrocket when you run your AC unit.
Did you get a bill recently that was far higher than the same time the year before? If so, this is a telltale sign that your air conditioner might be declining. Don’t just suffer and bear the higher costs; have a technician come by to identify the issue so you can get relief on several fronts.

5. Your air conditioner is short cycling.
Does your air conditioner turn on and start a cooling cycle, only to shut down a few minutes later? This doesn’t mean a cooler house in a short time. Instead, it means that your AC unit is short-cycling. This issue can affect your comfort, spike costs, and harms your AC in the long run.

6. The AC thermostat isn’t working.
Think of your air conditioner’s thermostat as the command center of the system. The thermostat communicates with the AC, letting it know the amount of cold air to generate. If your AC unit runs for just a few minutes at a time prior to shutting itself off, or if it won’t turn on altogether, this can be an indication that the thermostat is having issues communicating with the AC unit. This is a situation when you want a trained HVAC specialist to examine this because of the complexities of the electrical components.

7. You notice strange odors when the AC turns on.
An air conditioner is not supposed to release an odor. If you detect a smell, there is a problem and a burned-out wire inside the unit could be to blame. A musty smell may indicate there is mold somewhere inside of the unit or the ductwork. This is not something to simply ignore, as mold can wreak havoc on your family’s health and wellbeing.

8. Not enough humidity is removed by the AC.
If it’s running at peak efficiency, your AC unit reduces the amount of humidity inside your house. Even in a low humidity climate, the air maintains a small amount of moisture. If you begin to notice that air feels sticky inside of your house while the air conditioner is running, you have an issue on your hands.

9. Freon or water leaks around the air conditioning unit.
Any moisture leaking in or around your AC system is a sign something has gone awry. You might be dealing with a refrigerant leak and it’s something to not take lightly. Freon is poisonous, so it’s best to contact a professional immediately.

However, there can be other reasons seeing mystery liquid. For example, it could be moisture from a broken or blocked tube that disposes of condensation. This issue may manifest in more than one way. It’s possible to notice water leaking out of the HVAC system. Ice may develop inside your AC unit on the copper refrigerant lines located outside the condenser. Both cases require an expert so don’t put off the call.

10. AC is past its lifespan.
If your air conditioning unit is at least ten years old, count your blessings. That’s because air conditioners generally don’t function past a decade. However, tending to the issues above in a timely manner can help you avoid having to prematurely replace the unit.

Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature requires many things to work behind the scenes. If you experience any of these 10 signs, contact a professional HVAC technician. A DIY approach can lead to unnecessary costs if anything goes wrong.

If you’re concerned you need a new unit or simply want a second opinion, we’re in your corner this summer and year-round. Our knowledgeable technicians are just a phone call away. Don’t sweat it — literally.