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How to Tell If Your AC System Needs Repair

When your air conditioner isn’t working properly it can feel like a nightmare. But most AC problems are actually fairly minor and easy to fix. The key is to catch them early. That’s why regular maintenance check-ups are so important.

During an AC repair service a technician will look over key components such as the compressor, fan motor, evaporator unit, and condenser unit. In most cases a technician will also check the air filter as well.

A dirty air filter can lead to poor air flow, reducing efficiency and effectiveness. Over time, these filters will fill up with contaminants such as pollen, pet dander and dust which are then dispersed throughout your home. It’s important to change the air filter as often as recommended by the manufacturer.

Other signs of a problem with your air conditioning system include:

A lack of cool or cold air. If your system runs constantly but doesn’t seem to cool the home or takes a long time to get to your set temperature, it might be an indication of low refrigerant levels or an undersized system. It could also be a sign that the evaporator coil has iced over. If this is the case, turn off the system and allow the unit to thaw before trying to restart it.

Strange noises coming from the unit. This can be a sign that your unit has a loose or damaged belt or the compressor is not operating properly. You might hear clicking, banging or scraping sounds. If the problem is serious, a technician should be called as soon as possible.

Your AC system uses a special chemical, refrigerant, to absorb heat from the home, reject it to the outdoor unit and deliver cool air back into the occupied space. If there is a refrigerant leak, or if the system has insufficient refrigerant, it will be unable to meet its cooling needs and your home will not be properly cooled.

An inefficient AC system will not only make your home uncomfortable, it can also increase your electric bill significantly. Getting the system repaired as needed can keep the unit running in tip top shape and save you money over time.

If the repairs are going to be significant, or if your air conditioner is very old and starting to break down frequently, it might be more cost-effective to replace the unit. Generally, it’s a good rule to use the “5,000 rule”: multiply your AC unit’s age by its expected repair cost and if that figure is greater than $5,000 it usually makes sense to replace the unit.