Your air conditioner reliably provides cool, filtered air throughout your entire home. However, like your furnace, its various parts wear out over time, eventually leading to a breakdown. And, you know the result of that breakdown: a hot, stuffy home … yuck! When it comes to air conditioners, you have two choices: 1) Wait until something breaks and have your AC repaired, or, 2) Learn to recognize the signs that your system is failing and take proactive action. Here’s a quick list that will help you know if your AC may be in need of a visit from a certified HVAC technician.
How to Know There’s an Air Conditioner Problem
1. The Unit Is Old
Air conditioners are expected to last around 12 to 15 years. As your system ages, motors and other electrical components begin to break down. Additionally, refrigerant leaks can begin to occur, and your system will begin to form ice on exposed connections and on the inside coil. A visit from a certified HVAC technician will enable the tech to test your system to see if any of its components are operating outside of the manufacturer’s design specifications. That will allow you to make an informed decision regarding repair or replacement before your AC system leaves you sweltering in the summer heat. A good technician can also give you qualified advice as to whether it makes more economic sense to repair or replace an older system.
2. Rising Bills
If your energy bills are rising, but you haven’t set your AC to a lower temperature, then your system may be using more electricity due to several reasons. The first reason may simply be age. As air conditioners age, various components experience wear that results in increased energy usage. Physical damage to the system’s outdoor coil can dramatically drop the energy efficiency of your system resulting in higher energy bills. Additionally, failure to ensure that both the indoor and outdoor coils remain clean can sap even more energy efficiency from your cooling system. Don’t forget to check your air filter, too, and ensure that it is clean and changed regularly. Lastly, the first line of defense against rising electrical bills is to have preventative maintenance performed on your air conditioner (and furnace) every year.
Short cycling is an air conditioning issue that should be recognized and addressed as soon as possible. The primary indication of short-cycling is that your AC system is not running for it’s normal cooling cycle length of around 10 minutes each time it comes on. If your system is short-cycling, you will notice that the AC starts up, runs for only a couple of minutes, and then shuts down. A few minutes later, the system starts up again, runs for a very short time, and shuts down again. This cycle repeats over and over. The result is uneven cooling and a humid environment within the home.
Short cycling can have many causes. The system can be improperly sized for the home, it may be low on refrigerant, the air filter may be plugged up, the compressor may be going bad, the inside coil may be freezing up, the thermostat may be malfunctioning, or there can even be a problem with your ductwork. Whatever the cause may be, short-cycling rapidly drives up your energy bills. Most importantly, it’s critical that you immediately shut down your AC and contact a certified HVAC contractor for a service call. A short-cycling AC system is at great risk for a major repair expense if it is permitted to continue to run.
When you need reliable HVAC repairs, ask for Jon’s Plumbing & Heating located in Mount Vernon. We’ve been servicing clients since 1998 and have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau® for energy-efficient work repairing and replacing heating, plumbing, and air conditioning systems. We also offer preventative maintenance work and products that pass Energy Star® ratings. Give us a call at (740) 392-5667.