When heat waves hit, and the temperatures outside slowly creep back up, nothing is better than hitting a button on the AC and relaxing inside your cool and comfortable home. But what’s this? It’s not turning on?
If your broken AC unit is making a loud noise, randomly shutting off, or simply not working, keep reading to learn how to diagnose the issue and know the signs.
- Unusual Sounds Are Coming From the AC Unit
You can generally hear when your AC is running; however, you shouldn’t hear loud sounds like banging, scraping, grinding, whining, etc. These sounds could be a sign of loose or broken parts, a broken belt, a malfunctioning condenser, or any number of internal mechanical issues.
These sounds could point to a larger issue like a leak. Leaking refrigerant fluid is harmful to human health. And if your AC is making loud noises, like a scream, turn off the unit until you can get it evaluated.
- It’s Giving Off a Bad Odor
If your AC cannot drain properly, moisture could build up on the inside of the machine, allowing mold, fungus, or mildew to grow. You may smell a musky, earthy smell from the vents and in the air if this is the case. This harms your home’s air quality.
Other odors may smell like exhaust fumes, skunk spray, or gun powder. These are all signs of a potentially dangerous issue. If you smell these, turn off the unit immediately.
If you live in a wooded area, small animals may be attracted to your AC unit and attempt to nest there. If it lies dormant for a while, birds or mice may make it their home for a while and sometimes die there. A smell like rotten eggs could indicate the presence of a dead animal in your unit.
- It’s Leaking or Gathering a Lot Of Moisture
Your AC could be leaking or pooling moisture for a couple of reasons. A dirty air filter can cause your evaporator coils to freeze. As the coils thaw, it can drip moisture into your home.
Drainage pipes can break or become clogged by mold, debris, or fungus; therefore, they should be cleaned yearly. Drip pans drain condensate outside, but if it breaks, it could lead to leaks in your home. Hire an HVAC specialist to fix problems with drip pans.
To keep your AC unit running in the best condition, take a look at these tips for air conditioning maintenance.
- It Shuts Off by Itself
HVAC units, especially modern ones, are self-regulating systems. This is a safety feature that allows a heating or air conditioning unit to shut off when the room it’s in reaches the temperature set on the thermostat. It may do this more often if you have it set to “Energy Saver” mode.
Although, if your AC is shutting itself off before the room reaches the set temperature and it’s not in energy saver mode, it could be a sign it’s breaking. This is short cycling.
Short cycling may happen if:
- There’s a problem with the evaporator coils
- The air filter is clogged or needs to be cleaned
- The air conditioning unit is too big for the room/area it’s in
- Refrigerant levels are low
- The thermostat isn’t working correctly
- The air conditioner’s electrical system isn’t working correctly
If you suspect your problem may be a result of electrical issues, do not try to solve this on your own. You can replace your air filter, but bigger jobs should be left to the pros. Call a professional to take a look at your unit if you suspect something more complicated is going on.
Our Guide to the 4 Signs of a Broken AC Unit
Loud sounds, bad odors, leaking fluids, and short cycles are all signs your air conditioner is on the fritz, or you have a broken AC unit. Regular maintenance will help ensure your home will be cool and comfortable this summer.
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