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Watch Out For These 4 AC Trouble Signals

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You might not pay much thought to your air conditioning system until one fateful day when it decides to fail on you -- but if that fateful day occurs in mid-August, you'll be making frantic calls to your air conditioning repair service. Catching little problems early can prevent massive failures later on. Here are four signs that your AC could use some TLC.

1. Dripping

You already have a plumbing system to supply you with all the water your household needs -- you don't need or want any further contributions from your air conditioner! If your overhead indoor AC unit is dripping water through the service panel onto the floor, the AC isn't properly draining the byproducts of evaporator condensation. Your air conditioner repair service will probably diagnose:

  • A clogged condensate drain line - If rust or other debris has gotten into the condensate drainage line, accumulated water will fill up the evaporator drain pan until it finally runs over.
  • A rusted drain pain - If water sits in the drain pan for a long enough period of time, the resulting rust may actually eat through the metal of the pan, allowing the water to drip through.
  • A frozen evaporator coil - When the ice on a frozen evaporator coil melts, that water has to go somewhere. You may need a new air filter and/or more refrigerant to combat this problem.

2. Strange Sounds

Those spooky unidentified sounds you've been hearing lately aren't necessarily the work of poltergeists -- they could mean that your air conditioner is struggling. A rhythmic clicking noise, for instance, may be coming from a malfunctioning thermostat or a dirty fan blade. Squealing and rattling sounds can also have their origins in fan blade problems, although constant rattling may also mean that the AC was installed incorrectly in the first place. Buzzing noises usually point to a problem in the electrical relays or motor. 

Sometimes the occasional noise is to be expected. Random popping noises, for example, may occur due to normal thermal expansion and contraction within the AC ducts. Your air conditioning repair tech can tell you whether or not you have genuine cause for concern.

3. Uneven Cooling

Uneven cooling can be a maddening problem. You may find yourself shivering in the master bedroom while your kids down the hall are complaining about the heat. If this is a relatively new development, suspect trouble in your air conditioning system. The problem could be something as easily dealt with as a dirty air filter or vacuum return vent. A blockage in the ductwork, on the other hand, requires professional troubleshooting and repair.

If you've always had a problem with uneven temperatures in your home, possible reasons could include everything from drafts to inadequate insulation. Your service tech may even discover that you're using too small an air conditioner to serve the whole house. Forcing an underpowered AC to work overtime is a sure way to wear it out, so consider replacing the unit while you're still getting some cool air.

4. Trouble Maintaining Temperature

You may find that the air conditioning to the entire home fails to maintain the temperature you requested, forcing you to keep fiddling with the thermostat. In these situations, the thermostat itself is usually the cause of your discomfort. It may need to be professionally calibrated or even replaced before it stops working altogether. Fortunately, your air conditioner repair service can perform such tasks quickly and affordably.

Don't let yourself get caught in the dog days of summer because you ignored some early trouble signs from your air conditioner. Schedule a "checkup" for your system now -- and enjoy a more comfortable home later!