Nothing is worse than an air conditioner that isn’t working, particularly as summer approaches. Here are a few air conditioner issues you may be experiencing and some discussion about if these problems are worth repairing or if it may be time for a new cooling system.
Your Air Conditioner Is Blowing Warm Air
If your air conditioner can’t accomplish much more than circulate warm air, it’s time for a tune-up. There are two main reasons air conditioning systems may be blowing warm air. They are that the air conditioner is low on refrigerant, and the evaporator coils are not functioning well because of a build-up of dust and grime. These two issues also often cause ice build-up in the outdoor unit of your cooling system, so a frozen unit is a confirmation that dirty coils or low refrigerant levels may be the issue.
Low refrigerant levels usually mean that your cooling system has developed a leak. A homeowner cannot directly check the refrigerant level in their cooling system, but there are other indications you can look for besides ice build-up and not cooling your home. These include hissing or bubbling sounds and humid indoor air. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, you will need to contact a professional to identify where the leak is and fix it.
A reputable HVAC company will give you an estimate of home much it will cost to repair the leak and recharge the refrigerant. Based on this information, you can decide if repairing the unit is worth it or if it is time for a replacement. Experts indicate that if your system is older and a repair is going to cost you half or more of what a new unit would cost, then it may be time for a new air conditioner.
If your air conditioner is not functioning well because of dirt and grime on the condenser coils, then you probably do not need to replace the unit. A professional can clean the coils and the other internal components of your cooling system, and afterward, it should operate as it usually has. However, you may want to consider yearly annual maintenance to ensure your cooling system continues to keep your home comfortable. A clean system is more efficient and helps keep utility costs down. In addition, a clean air conditioner does not have to work as hard, so regular maintenance can reduce the amount of wear and tear on your cooling system and extend its usable lifetime.
The Air Conditioner Never Stops
An air conditioner that is running longer than it used to or not shutting down at all could indicate an airflow problem in the system. In this situation, homeowners should first check the system’s air filter. If it is dirty and clogged up, it may be the culprit behind your system running longer than it should, and changing it out may solve the problem.
Another issue associated with airflow is that homeowners sometimes replace a dirty filter with a new one that is too restrictive. If you have recently changed out the filter in your system, it is worth double-checking with the air conditioner owner’s manual to ensure that you purchased the right filter for your system. Getting the right filter may be a simple fix for your system.
If the air filter is not the issue, there is a third option you can try before calling a professional. Your air conditioning system was designed to deliver cool air through your entire ductwork system. A cooling system may actually work harder and longer if the flow of air is blocked in any part of the system. An obstructed vent or air return could be the reason your air conditioner is running all the time. You can check to make sure that these parts of the system are not blocked by things like furniture and curtains, and if you have dampers, make sure they are open.
If you have checked and found that air filters and blocked ductwork are not causing airflow issues in your system, it is probably time to call a professional. An air conditioner system running constantly can be because of issues like a faulty condenser or blower fan. A professional may be able to give you some advice on whether a repair makes sense or if you should consider a new cooling system.
A Misbehaving Thermostat
If your air conditioning system is not cooling your home the way it should, your thermostat may be the issue, which is a good thing because that means you do not have to replace your air conditioner. Your thermostat serves as the dispatch center for your cooling system, and it may malfunction because it needs to be recalibrated and, therefore, it is not reading the indoor temperature of your home correctly.
To check the thermostat’s accuracy, you can wrap a thermometer that you know is accurate in a paper towel and tape it to the wall next to your device. The paper towel is important because you want to take the temperature of the air, not the temperature of the wall. Wait about 15 minutes and check the readings on the thermostat and thermometer. The difference between the two will let you know how far off your thermostat is.
Smart thermostats usually have a calibration mode where you can make the adjustments necessary to calibrate the thermostat. Mechanical thermostats either have a calibration screw or a mercury vial that needs to be leveled to work properly. If you have a mechanical thermostat, it is advisable to contact a professional to recalibrate your thermostat.
Unfortunately, if you checked your thermostat for accuracy and found that it was only off by a few degrees or right on, you know that your device is not causing your home to be uncomfortably warm even though the air conditioning is on. This may mean there is a serious issue, and you will have to make an assessment if it is time to replace your cooling system based on how much a repair will cost.
You Have an Old Unit
Regardless of how well-maintained your cooling system is, aging will eventually take its toll. The lifetime of an air conditioner is typically 10 to 15 years.
As HVAC technology develops, manufacturers constantly produce more effective and long-lasting systems. However, many homeowners find that their air conditioner parts start to deteriorate after about 10 years, and they start having to spend more money on repairs. At the same time, an older system becomes less efficient at cooling your home, resulting in higher utility costs.
Constant repair costs and higher cooling bills are major factors when deciding if it is time to consider replacing your system. Modern systems are likely more cost-effective to run than your current system was when it was new and will not require frequent repairs. In addition, a new system may save you from emergency breakdowns, which are both costly and stressful.
Contact the Professionals
At All Tech Heat & Air, we have been serving the residents of Oklahoma City, OK, and the surrounding areas for 20 years. We install, maintain and repair heating and cooling systems. In addition, we invite you to become part of our All-Comfort Club, which offers annual maintenance for all your HVAC systems and a discount on repairs.
You may be interested in making an appointment with us so one of our experts can inspect your air conditioning system. After an inspection, we will consider your replacement options if necessary or give you tips on how to make your current system more efficient. Contact All Tech Heat & Air today so we can get started!