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6 Signs Your Air Conditioner is Broken and Needs Repair


6 Signs Your Air Conditioner is Broken and Needs Repair

In the heat of the summer, air conditioning isn’t a luxury: it’s a medical necessity. Extreme heat can be a life-threatening issue, and even when it isn’t, no one wants to feel uncomfortable and sticky in their own home.

As luck would have it, everyone seems to find their air conditioner is broken on the hottest days of the year. In reality, though, there are often symptoms of a problem long before this happens.

By knowing what to look for, you can make sure your home remains the refreshing haven you need it to be.

1. Noise Changes

Some air conditioners run more loudly than others, but the key is usually to look for a change in your air conditioner’s noises.

If you hear anything besides the gentle whirring of a motor, it’s time for a service call. Any thuds, grinding sounds, squeaks, or squeals are cries for help. It also warrants a call if your air conditioner is louder than it used to be.

If your air conditioner is new and you aren’t sure if its sounds are normal, it’s always better to pay for a service call than to risk the problem getting worse and ruining the system altogether. Keep in mind that a new air conditioner that breaks could still be under warranty if you’re prompt about getting service.

2. Newly Poor Cooling Ability

This sounds like an obvious sign of trouble, but it may be more subtle than you expect. If you find yourself asking your family, “Do you feel like the air conditioner isn’t working as well as it used to?” it’s time for a call.

If you’re using a new air conditioner or you’ve moved an old air conditioner to a larger space, your system may not be powerful enough to cool the space you have.

If you’re using the same air conditioner in the same space and it isn’t reaching the temperatures you want, it’s a sign that you need service. The problem could be as simple as a filter that’s due for a replacement and is cutting down your efficiency as a result, or it could be something more serious.

3. Hot Air

It’s one thing if your air conditioner is blowing out cool air but not enough of it. If it’s spewing hot air into your already hot space, it’s a whole different ball game.

Hot air coming from your A/C could mean you have a leak in your refrigerant lines. Another common culprit is a broken compressor. Both of these are simple issues for an HVAC technician to fix, but it starts with a phone call.

4. Nearby Moisture

We deal with our fair share of humidity in Virginia, but if you seem to have moisture that gathers on or around your air conditioner, you have another problem.

Sometimes this is a simple fix. You could have a clog in the tube that is supposed to pull the condensation from the room.

In other cases, the fluid you’re seeing is refrigerant, not condensation. This means a technician needs to find and repair a leak in your refrigerant lines somewhere in the system.

If you see moisture around your air conditioner, keep kids and pets away from it. If it’s refrigerant, you don’t want them to ingest it.

Then, call for a service appointment right away. Even if the fluid is water, you risk getting mold growth in your home if you don’t fix the problem in a short time.

5. Smells from the Vents

This is one of those situations in which homeowners ask, “What’s normal and what isn’t?” Let us put the question to rest: it’s never normal for smells to come from your air conditioning vents.

If you’re getting a whiff of a musty smell, it probably means you have mold or mildew in your system somewhere. This occurs most often when you turn on your system after you haven’t used it in a while. Usually, all the system needs is a professional cleaning from a technician.

If you smell another nasty odor, it may be a larger problem like burned insulation on your wires. This requires service right away to get your air conditioner back to safe working condition.

6. Too Much Running Time

Have you ever stopped and thought, “I’ve been hearing the air conditioner running for a long time now. Shouldn’t it have stopped by now?” Chances are that this comes with shockingly high energy bills.

Whether or not your air conditioner is reaching the temperatures you want, it’s a sign of an issue if it’s running constantly.

This often means your air conditioner isn’t as efficient as it should be, and the solution could be a simple filter replacement.

There could also be a problem with the temperature gauge. If your air conditioner is running too long and making your home far cooler than the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat, the air conditioner may think the home is warmer than it is.

Regardless, the only way to find and fix the problem is by calling your local HVAC experts.

Know What to Do If Your Air Conditioner Is Broken

You probably noticed a common theme above: if you notice any of these signs that your air conditioner is broken, call our HVAC technicians. The only way to fix an issue is to find out what it is in the first place.

We recognize that servicing your air conditioner is an unexpected expense. Many homeowners put it off because they don’t want to add another bill to the pile.

However, the truth is that the longer you use a broken air conditioner, the more likely it is to develop more expensive problems. Some issues are even threats to your health and safety. In the long run, getting a prompt service call can save you money and far more.

  1. Michaela Hemsley

    Thanks for mentioning that hot air coming from your AC is a definite sign that it needs repair. My sister has been having problems with her AC blowing hot air and is trying to figure out what to do about it. I think it would be smart for her to call an HVAC technician that can better figure out what’s going on and how to fix it.

  2. Darrien Hansen

    It’s good to know that your AC may be blowing hot air due to a broken compressor. My wife and I have started to notice that the AC in our living room no longer blows cold air, and we would like to have the problem fixed so that our cats will be comfortable when we go on vacation next year. We’ll be sure to call a repair service that can fix our broken compressor.


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