When do you need air conditioning services? If you're not sure when to call the expert, take a look at the questions to ask before you schedule or skip a service visit.
When Was the Last Time the System Had Routine Maintenance?
Annual maintenance can reduce overall costs when it comes to energy efficiency and damage-related expenses. This type of visit typically includes an inspection, cleaning (if needed), and any necessary repairs. If you haven't had routine AC service in over a year, it's time to schedule an appointment.
Does the System Make Strange Sounds?
Did your formerly quiet AC unit go from a mild hum to loud sounds? Sudden strange noises are cause for pause. Schedule service as soon as you hear new or unexpected noises. There are a variety of different noises, and they all come with different potential causes.
The most common strange sounds and AC issues include:
- A high-pitched squeal. This could indicate a condenser fan motor issue or (in older systems) a problem with the belt that connects the motor to the blower.
- A loud buzz. This sound could point to a compressor issue, a refrigerant leak, or loose/damaged parts.
- A banging noise. Loud banging is often a sign of a loose part or other internal damage. In some cases, a worn compressor can also make this noise.
- A constant click. It's normal to hear a clicking sound when the system starts up. But if that click continues and is constant, you may have a problem with the thermostat or one of the unit's electrical components.
- A rattle. Loose debris that's caught inside the unit or loose, unbalanced components can make a rattling sound.
Turn off the unit while you wait for the service technician. If damage, wear, or malfunction is the cause of the noise, the longer you run the system, the more problems you'll create.
Are Your Utility Bills Excessively High?
High electricity bills may indicate a problem with your system. While increased utility costs don't always equal an AC issue, they may when combined with:
- Decreased cooling. Does your house feel warm? If you have to decrease the temperature setting to get the same effect, you may have an air conditioner issue.
- Constant running. Does your AC run constantly? Inefficient cooling can cause the system to continuously run. This raises energy costs and can result in excessive wear and tear.
- Inconsistent cooling. Does your home have cool and warm spots? Damage and other malfunctions can force the AC system into working harder while still cooling unevenly.
If using your home's air conditioning system suddenly costs more than in past seasons, you need to contact a technician for an inspection and repair or replacement. Like out-of-date routine service and strange noises, this issue requires immediate attention from a professional.