Essential Guide To Emergency AC Repair And Ways to Prevent It
The temperature is rising — but your AC unit can’t keep up with the heat.
When you’re in need of emergency AC repair, it’s important that you recognize the dangers of putting off either getting professional help or handling the issues yourself.
With the devastating news that 8 elderly residents of a nursing home died in Hurricane Irma because the home’s AC unit failed, it’s only natural that emergency AC repair is on your mind.
We’re here to help you keep yourself, your family, and your co-workers safe.
Don’t Put Off Emergency AC Repair
In this post, you’ll learn the most common signs that emergency AC repair is needed. Even more importantly, you’ll also learn what you can do to prevent these repairs from being needed in the first place.
Your AC unit might seem like a small, inconsequential part of your home. But believe us, when it stops working or has other serious issues, you’ll notice right away.
Don’t compromise your comfort and safety.
Instead, read this post to get informed and to be prepared.
Signs You’re in Need of Emergency AC Repair
Before we get into how you can prevent emergency AC repairs, let’s take a look at some of the most common warning signs.
If you notice one or more of the following issues coming from your AC unit, don’t ignore it. Often, they indicate a failure of a specific part of your unit.
If left untreated, these failures can have serious consequences.
You Smell Something Funny
It’s not your coworker’s stinky egg salad or tuna, but it sure smells a lot like it.
You might not expect a foul smell to come from your air conditioning unit, but if you smell rotten eggs or burning, it’s a sign of a serious issue.
Sometimes, a strange smell can mean that some nasty debris has gotten caught in the air filter of your unit.
Other times, a strange scent can be an indication of a much more serious issue.
It could mean that the wire insulation within your unit has gotten overheated or has burned out altogether. Or, it could be that something is actually burning inside the unit — which could lead to a house or building fire.
Another possible serious health risk that a strange smell could indicate?
The presence of mold in your unit.
This mold can get up inside the ducts of the unit, and could lead to serious allergic reactions and even illness if left untreated.
You Notice Dripping or Vapors
Vapors And Smoke
Lots of people are convinced that there is “smoke” coming out of their AC units.
Sometimes, this is actually the case (and if so, it’s time to call an AC emergency repair service immediately.)
However, more often than not, what people think is smoke is actually fogged up, moist air.
This happens because your air conditioning filter is filthy, or because your fan speed is too low. It could also be a result of especially high humidity within the room where the unit is.
Essentially, this fog happens when dry air and moist air interact, and it can usually be cleared up by running your unit on high for a few minutes.
However, sometimes fog isn’t the problem.
Your Unit is Dripping
Have you noticed that your AC unit is constantly dripping or emitting some form of condensation lately?
If that’s the case, then it’s likely that there’s a serious problem with your unit’s coolant. There might be a crack or hole in the part of your unit that’s meant to hold the coolant itself.
This isn’t something that you want to handle on your own. If your unit is leaking coolant, it’s a situation that’s really best left to the professionals.
If you’ve noticed pools of liquid around your air conditioning unit, then it’s likely that your drain tube has some kind of blockage. Essentially, this means that your unit has no way to get rid of the excess condensation it creates, so it just drips it on your floor.
While this certainly makes an annoying mess, the good news is that it isn’t nearly as serious as leaking coolant from your unit. It’s likely that you’ll just need to purchase a replacement drain tube.
You might also need to check to make sure nothing is blocking or stuck inside the drain tube itself.
You Hear Odd Noises
Is your AC unit performing its own annoying, constant symphony?
If you hear things like clicking, grinding, squeaking, and grating, it’s likely time for an emergency AC repair.
These noises aren’t just incredibly irritating. It could mean that your unit’s belt has fallen or slipped, meaning the airflow can’t function properly.
Additionally, your unit could just be in need of a little lubrication. If it’s been a while since you last had your unit serviced, this is likely the problem.
Finally, these constant sounds could also indicate that the bearings within your AC unit are broken. You’ll likely need to have them replaced. This is much more affordable than having to buy a new unit because you ignored the problem for too long.
Your Unit Isn’t Blowing Any Cold Air
When your AC unit isn’t doing it’s number one job — blasting cool air throughout your home or office — you’ll notice right away.
Whether there isn’t any cold air anymore, or if the air temperature from your unit just doesn’t feel as cool as it used to, it’s time to act fast.
It’s likely that there is an issue with the compressor area of your unit. Additionally, your AC unit might be low on Freon.
No matter the issue, a lack of cool air isn’t something to ignore.
Your Unit is Old
Older units may still work well, but they’ll often require more frequent emergency AC repair work than younger units.
This is because you’ve likely had to replace parts or have services performed on your unit already. This means that these replacement parts will need attention at different times.
Listen for buzzing and squeaking sounds, which may indicate an issue with the fan or a clog within the unit.
Of course, sometimes there’s nothing an expert can do to salvage an older unit.
Even if you’ve done everything right when it comes to maintenance, sometimes it’s just time to let go. In general, the average AC unit is only meant to last between 10 to 15 years.
Sometimes, it’s not an emergency repair you need, but an emergency replacement.
If you need to buy a new one, make sure you’ve done your research to ensure you’re making a good investment and paying a fair price.
How to Avoid Emergency AC Repair
In addition to being an unexpected expense, having to go without air conditioning in the middle of the summer can be a real nightmare.
Now, let’s take a look at what you can do to prevent situations that require emergency AC repair.
1) Have Regular Maintenance Performed on Your Unit
You know what they say: prevention is the best cure. It’s just as true for your AC unit as it is for your health.
In general, it’s a good idea to schedule a routine maintenance AC tune-up at least once a year. If you live in an area where temperatures get especially extreme, you may need to have your unit inspected twice a year, as the seasons change.
Your technician will clean the unit, look for any broken or old parts, and lubricate the crucial parts of your unit.
It’s especially important to hire a professional to inspect your unit to identify potential problem areas and take care of any issues before they get worse.
2) Keep Your Yard Clean
It might come as a surprise, but the state of your yard (or just the exterior area around your AC unit) can help to keep it functioning properly.
Another way to avoid emergency AC repair?
Ensure that the external part of your unit is completely clear from any leaves, twigs, insects (ew, we know) and other potential debris.
The reason for this?
Over time, this debris can make its way inside your AC unit, leading to serious clogging and other problems within it. A good general rule of thumb is to keep the unit about 2-3 feet away from any major debris-causing plants, trees, etc.
3) Crank Up Your Thermostat
Another good way you can avoid the headaches and costs of emergency AC repair?
Take the time to set your thermostat to a higher temperature.
Additionally, be sure you use your thermostat to your advantage in other ways.
For example, it’s a good idea to adjust your thermostat as infrequently as possible. This is because your unit will operate more efficiently if it’s left at a specific temperature for a few hours.
In general, when you’re not home, aim to keep your unit at about 78 degrees.
If you can, try to keep your thermostat adjustment to about two times every day. Once when you’re home and need things a bit cooler, and once when you leave your house and can keep things warmer.
You might also look into programmable options that you can control with your smartphone, to help you save more energy.
In addition to decreasing your overall energy consumption, you’ll also save serious cash on your cooling bills!
4) Switch Out Your Filter
Another way to ensure you don’t get stuck with an emergency AC repair this summer?
Constantly switch out the air filter in your unit. In general, you’ll need to replace your air filter two times a year. Again, do this at the start of the winter and the summer.
However, if you smoke or have pets that shed frequently, you might need to change the filter more than two times a year to prevent pet dander from sabotaging your air and your health.
When you don’t clean out your filter, it’s much easier for your coils to freeze and clogs in your unit to build up. Keep things clean and running smoothly.
5) Buy A Quality Unit
Of course, even if you’ve taken all the preventative steps when it comes to avoiding emergency AC repair, nothing will help you more than investing in a quality unit at the start.
However, with so many options on the market today, it can be tough to select the AC unit that works for your lifestyle and home.
It can be even more difficult to separate the fact from the fiction when it comes to the claims of the companies that make these AC units.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re getting a quality unit?
Read online reviews of the most popular air conditioning units out there.
Where can you do that, you ask? Well…
Let Us Help You Avoid Emergency AC Repair
Thanks to this post, you now have a solid understanding of the most common causes of emergency AC repair.
You also know a few important steps you can take to avoid these repairs in the first place.
Keeping your filter clean, getting regular maintenance on your unit, and monitoring your unit on your own are all important. But, as we stated in our final point, a lot more than you think rests on the quality of the unit itself.
Don’t get taken for a ride, and don’t spend your hard-earned money on a unit that’s not a good fit for you.
Instead, spend some time on our website to read reviews of the top models out there.
We also offer invaluable AC maintenance advice, so you can keep your unit running smoothly for as long as possible.
Don’t spend another minute suffering in the heat, or putting your health and safety at risk. Instead, reach out to us to learn how we can help you to stay cool, comfortable, and safe in the summer and beyond.