Summer is nowhere near over and your air conditioner has likely been put to the test!
Of course, you don’t have to worry about this too much if you had your cooling system professionally tuned up last spring. To keep your air conditioner in great working order, it’s important to have professional maintenance done once a year–or twice a year if we’re talking about a heat pump system. This will prolong system life in addition to reducing repair needs and retaining system efficiency.
In fact, we estimate that maintenance can help reduce up to 85% of the repair costs your system might otherwise need in its lifetime. Still, though, it is possible for repair issues to crop up in between tune-ups. Because of this, and because the middle to end of summer is the most likely time for an air conditioner to break down, it’s important that you know the signs of an air conditioner in disrepair.
Read on to learn what some of these signs are, and what they could mean.
Ice Development on the Evaporator Coils
No matter how chilly your air conditioner is capable of getting your indoor space, you should never see ice forming anywhere on your air conditioner. Where you are most likely to see this problem is on your evaporator coil.
The evaporator coil is tasked with lowering the temperature of the air that runs over it, and when ice forms, it is typically due to a refrigerant leak or some other issue that prevents the coil from absorbing heat like it’s meant to.
A sign that this is an issue for your air conditioner is that you aren’t feeling any cool air coming from the vents.
A Dirty Air Filter
There is some good news about this particular air conditioner problem–it’s one you can resolve on your own. You see, your HVAC system’s air filter should be changed out or cleaned every 1-3 months during periods of air conditioner or furnace use.
This particular air filter, despite what many people believe, is not in place to protect indoor air quality. Rather, it’s there to protect the interior components of the air conditioner from dust, dirt, and other debris that may cause it harm. If the air conditioning system gets too clogged up, it doesn’t allow the evaporator coil to absorb heat, and it can create problems with cooling as well as airflow.
If you discover that airflow seems to be low, try swapping out this air filter! It’s also a good idea to visually inspect your outdoor AC unit and ensure that there are no leaves, branches, etc. restricting airflow there. Of course, if you do both of these things and you are still having airflow problems, then you might be dealing with damaged ductwork, which requires a call to our team.
A Refrigerant Leak
There’s a common misconception about the refrigerant in your system that makes the cooling process possible–people think that it is a fuel that needs to be refilled (recharged) on occasion. The truth of the matter is it only needs to be recharged if there is a leak, and the leak needs to be located and repaired.
You may notice your air conditioner struggling to keep you cool if you have a refrigerant leak, or you might hear a hissing or bubbling sound, alternatively.