The last thing any homeowner wants to hear on a warm summer day is the sudden and unexpected cutoff of cool airflow into their home. This matter will only be made worse if a homeowner attempts to return on the air, only to discover it isn’t working. In most cases, there were a number of unknown warning signs in advance that indicated the AC unit was going to break down. Learn each of the common signs that AC replacement is imminent so that you can schedule an installation before your old unit completely gives out.
How Does the AC Unit in a Home Work?
Oftentimes, homeowners think that an AC unit is just the box you see outdoors, but the system is far more complex than this. Contrary to popular belief, the way in which an AC unit works is that it sucks warm air from inside the home, cools it within the air conditioning unit, and then feeds it back into the home as colder air. The entire AC system utilizes vents, thermostat, a blower unit, and the physical unit which contains a compressor, condenser, and more. Any one of these parts can have an issue emerge as your unit begins to age.
5 Signs You Need to Replace Your AC Unit
Given the complexity of an air conditioning unit, there are a large number of issues that can arise. Below are some of the most common issues that The Otter Guys and other HVAC professionals see in homes that may indicate you need to replace your unit:
There is a lack of cool or consistent airflow
Perhaps the biggest sign that something is amiss with your air conditioning unit is when no cool air is expelled into the home or your home fails to cool down. There can be a variety of issues that cause this problem, but one of the most common issues is low refrigerant. This liquid helps to cool the air that enters your larger unit, but when it runs low it becomes less effective.
Foul smells are coming from your vents when the AC is on
There are a number of reasons you may notice a nasty smell coming from your vents, but mildew is by far the most common reason. This is when mold or fungus grows in your vents as a result of an accumulation of moisture in those vents. The smell itself is moldy air that is penetrating into the home.
You hear strange noises coming from the vents or your unit
Should you notice odd noises coming from your AC unit or the vents in your home, it’s possible there is either a minor or major issue. On the minor side, a clogged filter can result in a whistling noise or even a large thumping noise, but it can also cause your AC unit to turn on and off constantly. If the noise is coming from your vents, though, it’s possible that the metal joints are too loose which throws off the flow of air.
Your energy bill inexplicably gets higher
As your AC unit begins to age, it will become less effective at drawing air from your home. This will result in a significant spike in your energy bill as a result, as more power will be required due to the fact that your AC unit will need to run for longer. Should you notice this bill suddenly increase, it could be an indicator that your AC unit is reaching its expiration date.
A large amount of moisture has built up around the unit
Working AC units should be able to effectively dispel moisture around the unit. Normal condensation around a unit is to be expected, but if you should notice leaking ducts or random drips that are outside of the cabinet your unit is housed in, it could be indicative of a larger underlying issue. At this point, it’s best to contact an HVAC team who can diagnose what the problem is.
The Bottom Line
No homeowner wants to be stuck in their home on a warm summer day with no AC unit providing a satisfying constant flow of cool air. To that end, it’s important to recognize the common signs that your system is on the fritz and may be about to give out. If you notice any of the above signs, don’t hesitate to contact an accredited HVAC team to address the issues as soon as possible.