Installing an air conditioner makes it easy to stay cool during summer. Booking a regular aircon service is the best thing you can do to make sure your system is ready for action on those hot days. Most air conditioners need to be serviced every six to twelve months. In between regular services, there are a few signs you should keep an eye out for. If you notice any of the problems on the list below, it’s time to call your technician and book an aircon maintenance appointment.
1. Struggling to Cool
Air conditioners are designed to keep your home cool, so it can be very frustrating when yours blows warm air. If your aircon unit is blowing warm air then check the thermostat. Make sure it’s set to cool the space and that the temperature is lower than the air temperature. Air conditioners are more likely to struggle with creating cool air on especially hot days, and this problem can be a sign that your compressor is failing.
2. Restricted Airflow
While air conditioners don’t move as much air as a fan, they should blow a steady stream of cool air into your room. Weak airflow can indicate that you have a problem with the compressor, fan motors, filters or ductwork. You’ll likely need to contact an air conditioning technician to diagnose the issue. In the meantime, turn the unit off and avoid running it to protect internal components from further damage.
3. Strange Smells from the System
Air conditioners shouldn’t produce any noticeable smell. After all, they’re simply moving cool air around your space. When there’s a problem, air conditioners typically make two types of strange smells:
- Musty smells. Mouldy, stale or musty smells are one of the most common problems with air conditioners. These smells are a sign that the system is growing mould or bacteria. The system will need to be cleaned thoroughly to protect your family from harmful mould spores.
- Burning smells. Burning or metallic smells usually come from components and motors that are failing. If you notice burning smells then switch the unit off immediately and contact a service technician.
4. Loud or Unusual Noises
Just like odd smells, unusual noises can be an indicator that something is wrong with your air conditioning. While it’s normal for your external condenser unit to make noise while it’s running, it should sound consistent. If you notice the system making banging, squeaking, clicking or scraping noises, it’s time to book an aircon service.
5. Signs of Liquid Leaking
Cooling your home produces small amounts of condensation. It’s normal to see some water coming from your condensate drain (usually located outside near the condenser). However, there should be no other signs of leaks in the system. Water and refrigerant leaks are a sign of major problems with your air conditioner.
It’s important to note that some refrigerant leaks can be toxic to your family and pets. Modern systems use refrigerant gases that are low-toxicity, but older technologies may use chemicals that are much more harmful. If you see a leak (particularly around the condenser) with lots of small white bubbles, switch the unit off and contact a professional.
6. High Energy Bills
It’s no secret that air conditioners can use a lot of energy. But, if your power bills are climbing even though your aircon use hasn’t increased, it’s an indication that something is going wrong. Air conditioners usually cause excessive power consumption when the system is struggling. This can be a sign of issues like:
- Failing fan motors
- Struggling compressor
- Refrigerant leaks
- Blocked air filters
- Dirty evaporator coils
7. High Humidity Levels
Air conditioners strip small amounts of humidity from the air while they operate. That means they’re great at reducing that hot and sticky feeling that comes along with summer weather. If your air conditioner seems to be struggling to remove humidity from the air, it may have a problem with the thermostat or evaporator coils.
8. Turning Off Too Soon
You should be able to hear your air conditioning cycling on and off while it cools your space on a hot day. Once you set the thermostat, the system will cool your home and then turn off to save energy, only coming on if the temperature inside increases. A common problem is air conditioners that turn off too soon, or systems that refuse to turn on at all. These are usually caused by problems with the thermostat.
9. Ageing Systems
Booking your regular aircon service is the best thing you can do to prolong the life of your system. Unfortunately, air conditioners tend to break down more as they get older. If your air conditioning is 10 or more years old, it probably needs more frequent servicing and repairs than a newer unit. You should also consider replacing older systems. Newer air conditioners are far more energy efficient, and they use environmentally friendly refrigerants that are better for your family. If you want to avoid the problems we talked about above and reduce your maintenance costs, a newer unit may be the answer.