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5 Signs Of A Faulty Air Conditioner And How To Address Them

By Ty Watson

Air conditioners (AC), in most cases, break down at the worst possible time. Unfortunately, this is usually the homeowner's fault as the air conditioner will already have shown faulty signs long before it breaks down completely. You shouldn't make this mistake as a homeowner since the last thing you want is having to deal with extreme temperatures inside your home, especially in the summer.

But how can you tell that your air conditioner is faulty? This must be what you're asking yourself while thinking of how to avoid uncomfortable temperatures at home. Without further ado, here's an article about the signs showing all might not be well with your air conditioner, and what you should do to address the issue.

You Feel A Decrease In Airflow

This is a common issue with many air conditioners after it's used for a long duration. A blockage usually causes poor airflow in the air conditioner's ductwork. Or it might be a clogged air filter. There are different ways you can resolve this issue, including:

  • Opening the registers and vents to remove anything that might be blocking air passing through the vent. By doing this, you also reduce the chance of air duct leaks, thereby boosting air circulation.
  • Sealing the air duct leaks using aluminum foil tape or mastic sealant.
  • Replacing the dirty air filter, which over time gets clogged with dust. If you're a pet owner, you should replace the air filter at least once every two months.

It's best to leave the ac tune up to a skilled professional if you don't know how to resolve the insufficient airflow issue. In this way, you can prevent causing another problem.

Your Air Conditioner Is Generating Warm Air

You can also tell that your air conditioning unit is starting to malfunction when it starts blowing hot air. But before coming to this conclusion, make sure first to confirm that the thermostat is set to the correct temperature. If the problem persists, this is a clear sign of a refrigerant leak or broken compressor.

The repair of the leaking AC refrigerant (Freon) should always be performed by a licensed HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) contractor. If the Freon in your air conditioner is low, this is a clear indication there's a leak somewhere, because its level should remain consistent throughout. Therefore, the HVAC contractor will first find the leaking area and then recharge the air conditioner. Recharging means adding the AC refrigerant back to the system.

If the issue is due to a broken-down compressor, this part needs to be replaced instead of repaired as this is usually very complicated.

You Notice Foul Smells Coming From The AC Unit

The air conditioner shouldn't produce any foul smell, and when this happens, this tells you something is undoubtedly not working properly. If the smell has a musty odor, it's a sign there's biological growth in the unit. When it's a burning smell, the wiring insulation has burned, thereby increasing the possibility of fire. Therefore, you need to have this issue rectified as soon as possible to avoid any harm befalling you and your loved ones. This issue should always be fixed by a professional who'll inspect the air conditioner's wiring.

The bad odor can also be removed by cleaning the duct. Accumulated dust may be the only thing responsible for it. Clean the duct periodically to make certain your home will have odor-free and clean air. Just a tip: to remove any biological growth inside the AC unit that might be causing the foul smell, you need to use ultraviolet (UV) lamps.

You Start To Hear Strange Sounds

If your air conditioner starts producing strange sounds when you turn it on, this is a clear sign of a serious underlying issue. Listen for sounds like squealing, grating, or grinding. When this happens, switch off your AC unit as it means there might be loose parts inside. It might need maintenance repair. This issue will persist until you hire an HVAC professional to examine your air conditioning unit.

You should never ignore any strange sounds coming out of your AC as this might lead to serious damage that will be more expensive to repair.

Your Energy Bills Are Rising

You can also tell that your AC unit isn't working properly when there's a sharp rise in your energy bills, even without increased usage. Some of the things that can cause this include leaks in the air conditioner's ductwork or a broken-down thermostat switch. If no leak is found, the rise in electric consumption may just be a sign it's time for your AC's routine maintenance cleaning. You can get an HVAC contractor to inspect or repair your air conditioner to know which one is the culprit.


The last you want is your home losing its cool when temperatures increase due to a defective air conditioner. If you don't want to experience such an issue, keep this guide to remind you of common signs that signal your air conditioner is about to break down, and how to rectify the issue. You never have to deal with the frustration of your air conditioning unit malfunctioning when you need it the most.

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