Your air conditioner doesn’t need to catch fire for you to know it’s time to be replaced — the unit will give a heads up long before something that severe happens. But are you paying attention to the signs? At Precision Air & Plumbing, we know that your air conditioner isn’t always on your top list of priorities (and thus sometimes avoided by homeowners). It’s why we’re here to remind you of when it’s time to repair or replace your unit.
The Air Flow Has Changed
The air and vents are still ice cold, but it’s coming out at a turtle’s pace. The blower section of your heating and air conditioning system is responsible for the air flow of your home. If the blower motor is dying a slow painful death or if the blower wheel has come apart, you may need professional assistance to get everything up and running again. Just make sure it’s not a vent or a ductwork problem first. You may be able to fix it by adjusting the vents, cleaning the slats, or straightening out the ducts.
Musty air can be common in households, so much so that people can easily ignore it (or just assume they need to clean more). But if you return home to claustrophobic air, it may be a sign that the ventilation has been compromised, which has led to mildew or mold. And we don’t want to freak you out, but mold exposure can be dangerous (and even deadly) to your health.
And if you smell a metallic or burnt odor, this could be a sign that the wiring is beginning to fry. If you want to avoid that fire we mentioned earlier, you need to call someone.
It can be tempting to turn up the TV every time you hear a clang or a buzz from an appliance. After all, it’s what you do with your car! But it’s really better (and usually cheaper) to address the problem as quickly as possible. The longer it goes on, the more likely it is you’ll cause serious damage to your unit (or your car). Like most of our examples, one of the parts may simply need to be secured before it stops pounding on the side of the unit’s walls.
Higher Energy Bills
Of course your energy bill costs are going to go up when the temperatures do, that’s not what we’re talking about. Even if your air conditioner seems to be functioning reasonably well, a hike in your bill can mean that it’s lost its efficiency for one reason or another. Phoenix can get pretty hot, and the wear and tear on the appliance can quickly degrade its average lifespan. Depending on how often you use it and how cold your house is, all that pressure can really eat into your utility budget.
You Spot Condensation
Your air conditioner will extract water from the air as it cools your house down, that’s entirely normal. What isn’t normal is if the water’s in your home. A leak in the appliance is usually the sign that it’s beginning to malfunction and may be time to repair or replace your AC unit. It’s likely a broken part that’s causing the leak, which should really be fixed to prevent water damage or mold.
Refrigerant Is More Expensive
New AC units are required to be more energy efficient to prevent the world from going into meltdown, but that wasn’t always the case. If your older air conditioner still needs R-22 refrigerant to run, it may be time to replace the unit. Not only is this type of refrigerant more expensive (because fewer machines require it), it’s also a sign that your energy bills are higher than they need to be.
The Repairs Are More Frequent
Three years ago, you didn’t have to call for maintenance. Two years ago, you had a technician tighten the belt. One year ago, you had to replace one of the blowers and the expansion valve. Plus, you spotted a tiny damp spot on the wall at the tail end of the summer that immediately went away during the winter. If this sounds familiar to you, you may want to replace the unit rather than take chances for the year. Between repair costs, energy bills, and reduced hassle, a new unit could be worth its weight in gold.
Your Warranty Has Run Out
Major repairs can be rather labor-intensive, and it may cost less to replace the unit than it is to gut and fix the old one. If your warranty has run out, consider getting a new AC unit so you don’t have to pay for everything out-of-pocket.
We’re always going to tell you to be on the safe side if any of these issues occur to you. Instead of letting that burning smell turn into flames, you need to turn the unit off. As painful as it can be during the dog days of summer, you’re better off being hot for a few hours than trying to play chicken with an air conditioner (because we can tell you, it has the upper hand). Plus, even if it’s not a safety requirement, it can at least take the pressure off the AC and potentially make it easier to repair.
Get a Second Opinion
If you want a professional opinion on whether it’s time to repair or replace your unit, Precision Air & Plumbing has been helping Phoenix residents since 1995. We’re not here to tell you to get a new unit to drive up your costs. Instead, we look for ways to save you long-term expenses and hassle.
Phoenix can be such an unforgiving city in terms of heat, and we know how important it is for everyone to stay cool. By putting our customers before profits, we’re putting your safety first. Contact us today to tell us what’s going on with your unit and whether it needs a technician’s expertise.
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