Nobody needs to explain to you why an air conditioner is beneficial. Air conditioning is more than just a luxury these days, it’s a necessity to stay comfortable and even healthy inside of our homes. If you have a whole-house air conditioner in place, however, and it’s not performing as it should, it could leave you frustrated and miserable.
We would like to help you avoid this! There are a few AC performance problems in particular that homeowners will often ignore or neglect at first, because “it’s not that bad” or they’re afraid that a repair will be expensive. The truth is, though, that the longer you wait on fixing a cooling system problem, the worse the problem can get—until you’re stuck with a completely broken down system.
So, read on as we uncover these few common AC problems and what they may mean for your air conditioner.
Low Cooling Power
There’s nothing more frustrating than a cooling system that won’t actually cool, right? There’re a few reasons this might be happening. It could be low refrigerant, a clogged air filter, or a broken fan.
There’s a common misconception about refrigerant in that it is something that’s supposed to run out, like gasoline does from a car. But refrigerant isn’t actually a fuel. It’s the liquid that makes the cooling process possible, and your air conditioner is supplied with a certain amount—called the charge—upon manufacturing. So if you are losing refrigerant, it means there’s a harmful leak that needs to be located and repaired.
A clogged air filter will restrict airflow. When airflow is blocked, it causes your air conditioner to run longer to try to reach the desired temperature on your thermostat, when in reality it really can’t. This is harmful to your air conditioner over time and can be easily resolved by changing your filter every 1-3 months (depending on the type of filter and level of contaminants).
A broken fan means that while the cool air is still being produced, it’s not able to actually be effectively distributed through your home! So you won’t feel the same cooling power you’re used to.
All the causes we mentioned above for low cooling can also cause low airflow. So maybe the air feels cool, but it’s not coming out as powerfully as you’re used to. As a result, it takes longer for the whole house to cool down, if it ever does.
Another possible cause of this is ductwork that’s in bad shape. You can actually lose up to 30% of conditioned air through tears and pinhole leaks in your ducts. Dirty ductwork can also restrict airflow plus lead to indoor air quality problems.
High Energy Bills
Have you noticed that your energy bills are much higher this year than they were the same time last year? This is a sign that something is restricting the efficiency of your air conditioner. In a newer unit, it can simply be a component that needs replacement or repair. In an air conditioner that’s 10 to 15 years old, it might be a sign that it’s time to consider a system replacement.