It has been said that the average life of an air conditioner is somewhere between 10-15 years. In practice, we’ve found that air conditioners will last much longer if given the proper love and care they deserve. Think about it – air conditioners are one of the most important pieces of equipment in your home. They allow you to live comfortably for much of the year in Alabama. All it requires is a little attention in return.
Sometimes, though, basic maintenance falls through the cracks. You forget to change the air filter or haven’t had a routine check-up on your HVAC system for years. Small problems go unnoticed, and over time become larger problems. Then one day, things just aren’t working the way they should. When that day comes, will you know the warning signs of a minor vs. a major issue?
There’s a Distinct Lack of Cold Air
When you first installed your HVAC system, the air coming out of your vents was blissfully cool. But now, things have warmed up – you could describe the air blowing through your home as “lukewarm,” or maybe you don’t feel any cold air at all. While this could be a symptom of a dirty air filter, it could also be a sign of a failing compressor or even a coolant leak. Check your filter first – if that isn’t the problem, it’s time to call an HVAC tech.
You Barely Feel a Breeze
Back in the days when your system was new, cold air flowed through your home with a breeze you could feel. Now, you hardly feel the air in your home stir without the help of a fan. Over time, a lack of maintenance can mean that blockages are causing air flow issues within your system. You’ll need to check your air filter, vents, and outdoor compressor to make sure there aren’t problems with dust and debris buildup. If these easy steps check out, call a pro – it could mean the compressor is going, or there is a problem with your blower.
A Leak Has Appeared
The buildup of moisture around your air conditioner is never a good sign, especially if that moisture buildup has been there a long time. If you notice a leak around you compressor, it’s time to call for help – that leak could potentially be refrigerant, which means a bigger problem with your system.
If you have a lot of water pooling around your condenser unit, it could be that there is an issue with your drain line. Check to make sure it isn’t clogged, and double check drainage around the unit. Extra moisture anywhere within your system is a lure for mold and mildew, which can mean horrible indoor air quality and costly repairs.
It’s Hot, Then Cold, But Never Just Right
Remember the days when your home stayed at a blissful 72° F? Now, the temperature in your home runs hot and cold, but it’s never just right. A few issues could be causing these temperature fluctuations, including a neglected air filter. If the filter checks out, the next cause is likely the thermostat, but a combination of problems often causes unstable temperatures. If the thermostat seems fine, an experienced technician should be able to pinpoint the problem and offer solutions.
Your Peaceful Home is Filled with Odd Sounds
You used to come home to a quiet, relaxing home. Now, every time the air conditioner is running there is a symphony of sound you would rather not hear. Odd noises coming from your air conditioner require a call to a repairman – there are too many possible problems for most homeowners to do a thorough inspection on their own comfortably. Many of the problems causing odd sounds require part replacements, and a tech may likely have those parts on hand for a quick repair.
If you notice strange smells coming from your air conditioner, check out this rundown on common sources of air conditioner odors. There are quite a few causes of odd odors, but none of those reasons indicate good things for your cooling system. If you smell what you’d describe as dirty socks, rotting eggs, or burning, it’s time to call in some help. These three scents are indications of mold, animals, or failing parts, respectively. None of these issues should be tackled on your own and could mean some larger replacements within your system.
Your Energy Costs Are Skyrocketing
If you notice your energy bill going up, up, up, but the comfort you are receiving from your air conditioner is going down, down, down, there is a problem. Something isn’t working the way that it should, and a technician can perform a full system check to see what the problem is and how to fix it. It is possible that an older system is just wearing out and not working as efficiently as it used to. We pride ourselves on keeping systems running as long as possible, but sometimes it comes down to deciding whether or not a new, more energy-efficient system can save you money in the long-term.
Worried you may have a major A/C problem on your hands? Give us a call at (205) 871–8111 to schedule a system check-up today!