5 Signs Your Air Conditioning Unit Isn’t Working

July 21, 2020

Precision | women on couch


This year has thrown you so many curveballs that the last thing you need in the Arizona heat is an air conditioning unit that doesn’t work. A well-tuned AC system is a delight to behold when the air outside is so hot that even the murder hornets are rushing for cover. And as long as you can keep it that way, you’re golden.

Yet, these systems aren’t meant to work perfectly forever, and you shouldn’t forget that. There are several signs that you’ve got trouble ahead, and a wise person pays attention to them. By taking advice from us at Precision Air & Plumbing, you can save yourself a lot of hassle this year.

1. Your House Is Too Warm

If the first thing you say when you walk in the door is, “Who messed with the thermostat?” you might have a problem. Barring pranksters or living with the witch from Hansel and Gretel, your thermostat ought to keep its settings unless you deliberately change them. If you’ve been running along comfortably for weeks or months and suddenly the house is far too warm, you might have a problem. Here are a few things you can do to find out:

  • Check the settings on your thermostat
  • Replace thermostat batteries
  • Try turning down the thermostat

There are many possible causes, but these help you to rule out the most obvious. Keep in mind that a room that feels too warm in a house that otherwise seems fine is also an issue. A sense that particular rooms feel stuffy or much warmer than others is a common problem, usually solved by duct sealing. At Precision Air & Plumbing, we know that your system should cool the entire home effectively. A lack of effective cooling is a notable concern, even if it’s only in a small area.

2. Your AC Isn’t Turning On

Your reward for a hard day is to have the air conditioning unit crank into gear like a standing ovation. If all you hear is crickets, you know there’s a big issue. You go to the thermostat and turn it down to see if maybe, just maybe, you can persuade it into action. Nothing happens. Usually, AC units will give you some signs that they are about to give out on you, but you don’t always see them in time. In other cases, like a problem with the electrical circuit, you won’t get any advance notice.

Almost any AC problem can result in this situation if it’s left too long, so you probably have at least a dozen possible causes. It might be something as simple as a dead thermostat that needs replacing. It might be a failed compressor, which is a much bigger deal. Your best bet is to call for emergency AC repairs as soon as possible. It takes an expert to bring your AC unit back from the dead.

3. Your Air Conditioning Unit Runs Weirdly

At Precision Air & Plumbing, we’re familiar with the ways that your air conditioning unit should and should not function. It’s perfectly normal for a customer to call us up and say, “I’m not sure what my AC should be doing, but I know this isn’t it.” There are times when your AC seems to be working in some way because your house doesn’t feel like a blast furnace and you can still feel cool air coming through the vents. That doesn’t mean nothing is wrong, and it’s all right to trust your instincts.

There is a wide variety of problems that don’t initially cause your AC to completely shut down. If you ignore them long enough, you’ll probably get to that point. In the meantime, you’ll notice issues like:

  • Knocking or grinding sounds
  • Leaks or ice buildup on the exterior unit
  • The circuit breaker keeps tripping

Realistically, none of these things will get better without attention. You’re much better off if you listen to your gut telling you something is wrong. That way, you can schedule AC repairs before the system quits entirely.

4. Your Energy Bills Are Sky High

If diving into the price of kilowatt-hours and peak vs. off-peak usage sounds much less enticing than diving into a pool, we at Precision Air & Plumbing would like to make it simpler for you. Track your bills from month to month. If they go up a little because it’s hotter outside, that may make perfect sense. If they go up a ton, as if your usage doubled overnight, that’s a problem. You probably didn’t decide to turn your house into a walk-in fridge. A dramatic increase is always an incentive to get a second look.

The trick is that the cause might not be obvious at all. If your home feels just about as comfortable as it did last month but you’re paying twice the price, you need a professional to help you investigate. You might be dealing with:

  • Short cycling, where the system turns on and off almost constantly
  • Leaks or gaps in your ductwork, so the cooled air escapes
  • Failure of part of the system, like the evaporator coil
  • Dirty air filters

Some of these solutions are simple and quick for a professional, but others are more difficult.

5. You Remember Problems from Last Year

The thing about AC problems is that they tend to multiply when you’re not thinking about them. When someone finds a rat in their basement, they’ve actually found 50. If your AC was limping to the finish line last fall, shutting it down for the year might have taken the pressure off. It didn’t fix the problem. Now that you are putting the unit back into full operation, you may notice that at least a few issues you had last year are still causing concerns.

As a full-grown adult and homeowner, you know that the Air Conditioning Fairy isn’t going to come fix your system if you leave a broken part under your pillow. This is the time to take action. A working system only continues so long as each component runs more or less in balance with each other. A malfunctioning system might be giving you cool air and moisture control for now, but that could end at any time.

Brutal summers can be much worse without an air conditioning unit to support you. Request an appointment today to find out what’s wrong with your AC and how we can fix it.