Your central air conditioner requires basic maintenance, just like any appliance in the house. Failure to maintain the unit may not result in immediate issues, but eventually problems will develop. If your air conditioner is suffering any of the symptoms below, then it is time to schedule a maintenance and repair visit from a technician.
#1: Poor air flow
Poor flow through the vents can be the result of one of several issues. The blower and fan motor could be having problems, or the unit's filters could be clogged. Poor air flow doesn't just result in bad cooling. It can also lead to higher energy usage, since the AC will likely have to run longer to cool the home appropriately.
#2: Hot or warm air
Units that are operating properly except for the air temperature may have a refrigerant leak. When this occurs, air still comes out of the vents, but it isn't sufficiently cool. A tech will have to locate and repair the leak before they can add more refrigerant to the unit.
#3: Constantly running unit
There are many causes for a unit that won't turn off, but the most common cause is a broken thermostat. If the thermostat isn't working correctly, the AC may continue to run even though the home has reached the set temperature. Of course, in some cases the opposite happens, and the AC refuses to switch on no matter how hot the thermostat reads.
#4: A noisy unit
Squealing noises, rattling units, or loud clanging are all major indicators that something is wrong. Squealing noises are generally from the fan or blower, and they may indicate that the motor is struggling. Other noises could indicate minor issues, such as loose parts, or major issues, such as a failing motor.
#5: Bad odors
If odors are coming through the vents each time the AC pops on, you may have an issue. Persistent musty odors may indicate moisture buildup in the unit or duct work that is leading to mold and mildew growth. A smelly sock or body-odor smell may mean a clogged drain line, since bacteria in the drain line produces a similar smell. An odor similar to that of gun smoke or fireworks often indicates an electrical problem in the unit, which can lead to a major repair or even a fire if not fixed.
Don't ignore the warning signs of AC problems. It's best to be proactive and schedule annual maintenance each spring before the start of the cooling season. Contact an air-conditioner service technician, such as one from Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, for more help.