AC provides that much needed relief during the hot summer days, but when your AC unit starts acting unusual that relief can turn into a headache. For the most part, it’s fairly easy to determine if something is wrong. Sometimes, however, the signs can be subtle and difficult to detect.

“Is there something off about the AC? Ah, maybe it’s just in my head…” (maybe not)

Signs Your AC Needs Repair or Maintenance

Knowing the signs and being able to identify potential problems will allow you to take action and get your system checked out by an HVAC professional before the situation gets out of control.

Lack of Cool Air

If your air conditioning isn’t putting out as much cool air as it once was, or even worse, not pushing out any cool air, that could be a sign that your AC unit is in need of serious repair. Lack of cool air could mean that your system’s compressor has failed. Another possibility is that its Freon levels are too low. If that’s the case the system will need to be recharged, and any leaks need to be repaired.

Thermostat Issues

Sometimes the problem isn’t with one of the internal AC components, but with the thermostat itself. If the thermostat doesn’t seem to be accurate or isn’t regulating the temperature as it should be, that could be the problem. One way to tell with central systems the thermostat is the problem is by checking the templates of the various rooms it effects. If one room is very cold but others are not affected, that’s a strong indication that the thermostat isn’t functioning properly.

Poor Air Flow

Weak or little air flow through your AC vents could be an indicator that your compressor is failing. On the other hand, if areas or certain rooms in your home are getting air while others are not, there could be problems with your ducting. In that case one or more areas of the ventilation would need to be repaired before the issues gets worse. Another consideration to keep in mind is that over time debris can accumulate in the ventilation. This not only causes air flow restriction, but can release contaminants into the air that are hazardous to your health. Getting your ducts regularly cleaned can prevent this.

Unexpected or Excessive Moisture

If you’re noticing excessive liquid or moisture where it shouldn’t be, this could be caused by two potential problems. In the most serious of cases, there could be a refrigerant leak. These leaks can cause serious health risks to you and your family and need to be addressed immediately. Calling a technician who is certified to handle these issues is the best route to go. A less serious problem, in which water pools adjacent to the air conditioner, might be a drain tube issue. This can arise if the drain tube becomes blocked or broken. Not addressing this issue can lead to worse problems such as water pooling in the unit, rust, water damage to surrounding area and mold growth. If there are any issues it’s always better to the care of the problem early on.

Unusual Sounds

If a squealing noise is present, it could indicate that a belt is slipping, or that a metal component is in need of lubricating. A grinding sound could mean that the motor’s bearings are broken. Squealing, grating and grinding sounds coming from your air conditioner could be a sign that the unit needs to get replaced. These noises can be a good indicator that something is wrong internally. It may be that a few repairs will fix the issue, and failure to service the unit could result in a pricey breakdown.

The examples listed here are some potential problems that could arise with your AC unit, but not a complete list. If you’re in doubt, it’s better to contact an HVAC technician.