How Do You Know If Your Air Conditioner Isn’t Working?

Imagine: it’s finally time to transition from winter to summer. You’ve packed up the heavy winter coats and are ready to combat hot weather by blasting cool air throughout your home. There’s just one problem — your AC is broken.

If you’ve neglected your seasonal air conditioner maintenance since the last heat wave, you’re not alone. Don’t spend your summer secretly asking yourself, “Is my AC broken?” Use these tips from the pros at John C. Flood to recognize the signs it’s time for a tune-up.

6 Warning Signs Your Air Conditioner Is Broken

1. Inefficient Cooling

Checking the temperature of the airflow coming from your vents is one of the simplest ways to determine if your home air conditioner is broken and needs repair or repairing. If you feel warm instead of cool air, double-check your thermostat to be sure it’s on the cooling mode and set it to an appropriately cool temperature.

If everything looks right but your vents are blowing warm air anyway, then you know your AC is not working. There could be an issue with restricted airflow or your compressor may be failing. Don’t attempt a quick DIY fix for an issue like this — resolving this issue requires careful calibration. Without the help of a professional, you may end up causing more harm to your broken AC than good.

2. Frequent Cooling Cycles 

It’s perfectly normal for your AC unit to run regular cooling cycles throughout the day. While you should expect those cycles to be more frequent on the hottest days of summer, it should never turn on and shut off constantly. The frequency of cycles is a great way to tell if your air conditioner is not working properly.

If your AC unit turns off and on annoyingly regularly, or the cycles seem far more frequent than necessary, it may be time to bring in an expert. Consider reaching out to a professional like John C. Flood for advice on how to proceed and get your AC working again. Your unit could simply need a quick tune-up to solve the issue.

3. Strange Sounds

All air conditioners make noise when they turn on, when they run, and when their cycle ends and they shut off, so how do you know if your AC is broken? Simple: pay attention to the kinds of sound coming from your unit. You can tell if your unit is broken if it’s making loud, grinding, buzzing, or otherwise unusual sounds.

If you notice any unusual sounds coming from your AC unit, especially rattling or buzzing sounds, it could be a sign of a loose part or a more serious integral issue. Unfortunately, things like these don’t go away on their own, so contact a trusted and professional technician like John C. Flood to help fix the issue before it causes additional damage.

4. Poor Airflow

Poor air circulation typically means something is blocking the air from moving through the ductwork as it should. This could be something as simple as a clogged air filter, or it could be more serious, like a broken motor or a severely broken unit. So while poor airflow isn’t a clear way to tell if you have a broken AC, it’s a sign that something needs adjusting.

If you notice the air coming through your vents is cool but too light to properly cool your home, schedule a cooling inspection right away. An HVAC technician will be able to identify your problem, help you solve it as efficiently as possible, and make sure your unit is running right.

5. Unusual or Bad Odors

Homes can have a variety of odors for a variety of reasons, but one way you can tell if your AC is broken is if you notice the unpleasant smells are coming directly from your vents and not your plumbing or kitchen trash can.

Try to identify the smell — is it overheating, or does it smell like rotten eggs? Do you smell gas or oil, or does it smell musty like mold?

The type of smell determines the best course of action you should take to address the issue, which could be as simple as cleaning away the dust and mold from your AC unit’s draining pan, changing a filter, or tightening a loose oil fitting. But it could also be as complicated as cleaning out your air ducts or needing a full AC unit replacement.

6. Leaking Water or Refrigerant

Air conditioners use refrigerant to cool the air in your home in a process that produces condensation. While there is going to be some water around your unit, there should never be an accumulation of liquid large enough to cause leaks in your home.

If this is ever the case with your unit, that’s a clear sign that your AC unit isn’t working properly and needs repair. Don’t wait around wondering what’s wrong with your AC unit.

Expert Air Conditioner Maintenance and Repairs

With more than 115 years of HVAC expertise, the John C. Flood team has seen it all. No matter the issue, you can trust us to deliver top-tier service every time. Plus, if you agree to same-day service with the John C. Flood team, we’ll waive the diagnostic fee entirely!

If you suspect that you need to repair your air conditioner, don’t put the issue on the back burner. Contact our team today to avoid further damage and, most importantly, protect yourself from future heat waves!


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