If your home's central air conditioning unit seems to be acting up a little bit, such as occasionally blowing hot air or running longer than usual, you may think that you have some time before you need to think about calling someone to repair it. However, if your AC unit starts showing any of the following signs, do not ignore the problem, as it could be something serious that needs immediate attention.
1. AC Unit Constantly Freezes Up
One sign that there could be a serious problem with your air conditioner is when it starts freezing up. While having this issue only once or twice a season may not be a big deal, you should pay attention if you are having to thaw out your AC unit several times a week. Not only could it be a sign of a serious issue, but it can also wear down your air conditioner faster because it is having to work harder.
If your AC unit is freezing up on a consistent basis, first look at the temperature settings and the temperatures outside. If you typically wake up to a frozen unit, you may be setting the thermostat lower than the outdoor temperature.
If so, the AC unit will continue to cool the air in your home to your desired setting. However, since the air around the unit itself is lower than that setting, the combination of the two could result in the compressor freezing up. Try increasing your thermostat settings at night to see if it solves the problem.
If adjusting your thermostat does not solve the issue, however, you may have a refrigerant leak either coming from the compressor or the refrigerant lines. Because the compressor is no longer able to evenly cool the air because of its low refrigerant levels, any moisture on its exterior will freeze.
If you do have a leak, you need to have it taken care of right away. Not only will your unit continue to freeze up, but the leaking coolant can also expose your household to the risk of refrigerant poisoning.
2. Compressor Starts Short-Cycling
When your compressor kicks on, you have probably grown accustomed to it blowing air for a consistent amount of time, as well as making a soft whirring noise as the fan rotates. As long as the compressor is running on a consistent basis, it is most likely working properly.
However, lately, you may have found that the compressor seems to kick off after only being on for about a minute or so, even if your house is still warm and is not being cooled completely. If your air conditioner has started to short-cycle, there could be a serious issue at play that needs immediate attention.
If your AC unit is short-cycling, there could be a problem with the electrical system. If there is a power surge inside of the unit, which can make the compressor's motor overheat. As a safety precaution, the unit will switch off until the motor's temperature decreases. However, as soon as the compressor kicks back on, the cycle continues.
If you notice that your air conditioner is short-cycling, you should also be on the lookout for an odor resembling burnt metal that is coming from your vents. If you detect this smell, turn off your AC unit and contact a repair service immediately. This odor often indicates that the compressor has overheated to the point that the wires are fried, which could cause an electrical fire if you continue to run the unit.
When your central air conditioner starts exhibiting the above symptoms, do not wait around and do nothing, as the issue may only get worse and create even more problems. As soon as possible, contact an air conditioning repair service to have a professional look at your unit and discuss your options for fixing any issues they find.