Texas summers are hot, muggy, and sweltering, with temperatures reaching above 96°F.
Addressing much-needed AC repairs prevents appliance breakdowns and costly replacements.
Air conditioners regulate indoor air quality by balancing humidity, filtering allergens, and warding off moisture-related illnesses. ACs keep spaces cool and comfortable, creating a more restful sleep. They even prevent pesky summer pests from sneaking into the house!
Every homeowner from Austin to Liberty Hill needs a dependable HVAC system to brave those scorching Texas summers. Assess your AC (and air quality) to see if you need the following repairs.
Indoor Air Quality Signs
Remember, air conditioners maintain good air quality inside your home. Thus, changes in indoor air quality are one of the first signs of AC repair. Unfortunately, this issue is frequently overlooked until it’s too late.
Look for the following changes in air quality:
- Indoor air that’s too humid
- Stuffy, hot indoor air
- Air that’s too dry
- Musty-smelling air
- Excessive airborne allergens
- Skunk-like odors
- Exhaust fumes
- Burning smells
- Rotten egg odors
These aforementioned signs negatively affect indoor air quality, but they also indicate various issues, like AC leaks, clogs, insulation issues, and more.
Indoor air pollution also results in concerning health problems, like chronic fatigue, migraines, wheezing, and coughing.
Let’s dig deeper into AC air quality problems and solutions:
Musty Mildew Odors
Does your AC smell peculiarly of dirty socks?
This odor is a telltale mildew smell. It also smells like old, musty, damp closets. This problem means you have a moisture problem on your hands.
A few issues may be at play.
You may have standing water languishing away in your AC. Standing water is caused by excess moisture. Unfortunately, when moisture gets trapped inside the ducts, it blocks airflow, creating even damper conditions.
Eventually, bacteria and mold will grow inside your AC, emitting foul musty odors. Fortunately, you can restore your ducts with professional AC cleaning and repair, eliminating the risk of mold-related hazards.
Musty smells also result from low-performing air conditioners that increase indoor humidity levels.
High humidity levels feel warm, thick, musty, and stuffy. You can also feel the humidity on your skin, leaving the skin clammy and moist.
Aside from feeling the effects of humidity, you can also see it inside your home. Foggy windows, wall moisture damage, and discoloration are the clearest visible signs of high indoor humidity.
Excessive humidity causes air conditioners to work overtime, driving up utility costs. Plus, you have to deal with the costs of health and safety issues caused by high moisture, like mold, respiratory illnesses, and skin problems.
Now that you’ve identified the problem, what’s causing it?
The issue may not be your air conditioner at all. Instead, the problem may come down to insulation.
You know the importance of insulation during winter. Proper insulation traps warm air inside, preventing costly heat loss and high energy bills.
The same rule applies in summer. Insulation traps cool air, ensuring it doesn’t seep out through cracks, drafts, roofs, and other openings. Sealing windows and doors make a world of difference, keeping warm, muggy air out of your home.
Your AC System Is Too Large
If your insulation checks out, your AC capacity may exceed what your home really needs.
While oversized air conditioners cool smaller homes quickly, they shut off too frequently. Your AC’s evaporator has dehumidifier capabilities, absorbing moisture from the atmosphere. However, the coil needs enough time to pull moisture effectively.
This problem occurs when an HVAC company doesn’t perform a proper cool load calculation before installation. Schneider Mechanical can inspect your current AC to ensure you have the right cooling system for your home.
Rotten Egg Odors
Is your AC producing a sulfuric rotten egg odor?
Turn off your HVAC system, and call Schneider Mechanical right away. This odor could indicate a serious AC gas leak. Gas leaks make their way into your air ducts, distributing dangerous contaminants throughout the home.
Gas leaks are caused by the following:
- Freon refrigerant leaks from old air conditioners
- Metal corrosion inside the AC unit
- Formic acid leaks
- Wear and tear
Depending on the severity of the problem, a technician can repair and replace the condenser coils and corroded parts. You may need a total replacement to prevent further safety hazards.
Follow up your AC gas leak removal with an air filtration service.
A pungent rotten smell could also be caused by dead critter carcasses trapped inside your ventilation. You’ll need a complete duct cleaning after removing the pests.
A faint burning smell could be your AC powering up after months of no use. The odor should dissipate quickly. However, call a technician to be on the safe side.
Unfortunately, stronger burning smells can indicate more serious issues with your HVAC electrical wiring. Your AC may have a short circuit, damaged wires, or overheating parts.
If you smell a pungent burning odor, shut off your HVAC system and electricity. Step outside and call the fire department to prevent an electrical fire. Call Schneider to inspect your system afterward and make necessary AC repairs to prevent hazards.
Don’t wait to address exhaust fumes, either. A normal AC doesn’t produce exhaust odors. You may have a refrigerant leak or an urgent gas line issue.
Air Conditioner Ventilation Issues
If you’re still experiencing issues, the culprit may be faulty ventilation.
Central cooling systems rely on proper ventilation to recirculate cool, filtered air. Unfortunately, dirty or incorrectly installed ventilation does the exact opposite.
Ventilation (or air duct) problems agitate the following AC issues:
- Excessive dust and dirt recirculation
- Moldy odors
- Skyrocketing energy costs
- Concerning noises
- Increase in pests infestations
- Duct leaks
- Decrease in cool air output
- Uneven cool air distribution
- Unbalanced indoor air pressure
- Ventilation clogs
Inadequate attic ventilation also impacts AC performance.
Since heat rises to the top, your attic is the hottest area of the house. Proper ventilation and insulation prevent scorching attic air from recirculating inside.
Those moldy, musty odors may be coming from a nasty ventilation clog.
Duct clogs also trigger the following issues:
- Poor airflow inside the home
- The buildup of indoor pollution contaminants
- Fluctuating indoor temperatures
- Rising humidity
- Respiratory illnesses
- Increase of volatile organic compounds
Preventing the recirculation of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions is crucial. Many common household items emit VOCs, like moth repellents, car fuels, and household solvents. However, high indoor temperatures increase the presence of VOCs, leading to health and safety hazards.
A properly functioning AC is critical for decreasing VOC levels. However, don’t attempt to remove a duct clog yourself. The slightest duct damage will derail your attempts at improving AC performance and indoor air quality.
Ducts are easily damaged, especially thin flex walls. One hole is enough to trigger costly cool air loss too. Plus, DIY duct cleaning worsens clogs, putting even more stress on your HVAC cooling system.
The experts at Schneider Mechanical use only EPA-approved high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) vacuums, air cleaning machines, and heavy-duty professional tools to remove stubborn duct clogs.
Leaky Air Conditioner
Clogs and DIY troubleshooting also increase the chances of duct leaks and other leaky AC issues.
Other common causes include:
- Condensation buildup around the vents
- Dirty air conditioner filters
- Uninsulated air ducts
- Stubborn condensate drain line clogs
- Sump pump problems
- AC refrigerant leak
- Frozen AC evaporator coils
- Adjacent plumbing leaks
These AC repairs should be addressed immediately to avoid costly replacements, indoor air pollution, high energy bills, and health concerns.
Let’s take a deeper look at AC leaks and causes to find the right HVAC services for the job:
Types of AC leaks
There are two primary types of AC leaks, both having multiple causes.
Water leaks are the first type of air conditioner leak.
These leaks result from:
- Clogged AC drain lines
- Nearby plumbing issues
- Disconnected drain line
- Clogged or rusted AC drain pan
- Damaged or dirty AC coil
Clogged condensate drain lines are a common culprit behind AC water leaks.
Condensate Drain Line Repair
When your AC pulls moisture vapor from indoors, the vapor condenses, transforming it into water; this water is also called condensate. Ideally, this condensate drips through the drain without a problem.
Unfortunately, clogged air conditioners obstruct the flow of the condensate, damaging the drain line and leading to indoor leaks. Plus, the icky debris from AC clogs find its way into the drain line, increasing indoor air pollution.
Improperly installed AC drains lines could be the issue too. Call Schneider Mechanical to inspect your AC for critical condensate drain line repairs.
AC Drain Pan Problems
Your AC’s drain pan may be the issue too. This problem is more common with AC units located in basements. These units move condensate into a drain pan, which is subsequently pumped out by the condensate pump.
Old AC drain pans also rust easily, creating even more urgent repairs. Your pan may be overflowing with condensate too. Call a pro to upgrade your old parts before you really need your AC!
Leaks Caused by Frozen Coils
Stop and check your AC’s evaporator coils. If ice or frost is forming on the coils, your AC is at risk for leaks.
Address your frozen evaporator coils immediately. If left unattended, you could damage your air conditioner’s compressor beyond repair, rendering a complete AC unit replacement.
Frozen AC coils result from clogged filters, ducts, and condensate drain lines. Despite the urgency of a frosted evaporator coil, do not attempt DIY repairs at home. Turn off your AC and book a service call immediately.
Frozen evaporator coils are also caused by refrigerant leaks.
While water leaks are a significant cause for concern, refrigerant leaks are even more concerning.
Other causes include:
- Thinning AC unit tubes
- Normal wear and tear over time
- Old AC units
- Tube and coil corrosion
- Incorrect HVAC installation
- AC connector issues
- Possible defective AC equipment
Refrigerant leaks signs share several hallmarks with other AC problems, like rising energy costs, higher humidity levels, and infrequent AC performance.
Other signs include:
- Slow and sluggish AC performance
- Vents blowing hot air (no cooling)
- Increase in water leaks
- Loud hissing noises
- Evaporator bubbles
- Freon poisoning
Homeowners with old cooling systems should understand the dangers of freon poisoning, as well.
Freon Leak Signs
Fortunately, most air conditioners manufactured within the last 15 years don’t use freon, a refrigerant commonly used in old HVAC systems.
AC refrigerant is a chemical compound solution that absorbs warm indoor air and enables cool air through AC compressors and coils.
If your AC still uses R22 Freon, watch out for the following signs:
- Excessive fluid in your lungs
- Shortness of breath
- Increasing respiratory problems
- Headaches and migraines
- Dizziness or vertigo
Freon poisoning is caused by the refrigerant’s fluorinated hydrocarbons. Since you can’t see or smell freon, spotting these signs is critical for preventing further damage.
After addressing your refrigeration repairs, Schneider Mechanical can perform air purification services for added peace of mind.
AC Refrigerant Repairs
Freon was eventually replaced with Puron or R410A.
Unlike Freon, Puron doesn’t contain chlorine, improving health and environmental conditions. Plus, air conditioners that run on R410A are more energy-efficient than old HVAC systems.
If you want to switch to Puron refrigerant, Schneider Mechanical can install a new AC model.
A well-functioning air conditioner doesn’t need refrigerant replacements. There should be enough refrigerant to last the AC’s entire life span. If R410A is depleting, you likely have a refrigerant leak, requiring immediate repairs.
Address your water and refrigerant leaks by booking an urgent repair appointment and AC cleaning. You can also avoid future AC leaks with routine preventive maintenance.
Pro tip: get all your AC repairs squared away in Spring to avoid AC mishaps in scorching weather.
AC Repair Noises and What They Mean
Remember the hissing sound from that refrigerant leak?
Air conditioners make hissing noises when the evaporator coil or condensate drain line is leaking AC refrigerant.
There are plenty more AC noises to watch.
However, some noises are to be expected with a normal, functioning air conditioner.
For example, don’t be alarmed by a steady blowing noise.
You can double-check by holding your hand up to the vents. If the ducts are blowing cool air, your AC is probably fine. Call Schneider if you feel warm airflow, as you might have a leak, coil issue, dirty ducts, broken thermostat, or HVAC wiring problem on your hands.
When powering up your air conditioner, you may hear a short click noise too. This AC sound is completely normal. You may hear a short swoosh sound after turning on your AC, also normal.
How Loud Is Too Loud?
Loud AC noises are both normal and cause for concern.
Older air conditioners are louder than newer, quieter models. Again, test and see if the air temperature matches the thermostat. You can use sound blankets and quiet fences to reduce the noise, but you may want a full replacement to eliminate distractions.
If your AC never emitted loud noises before, it likely needs repairs.
Take note of the following sounds:
If you haven’t turned on your AC in a while, extra noises are to be expected. However, those noises should last more than a few seconds, following by normal blowing sounds.
Call Schneider if you hear the following noises from your AC:
Rattling AC Sounds
If your air conditioner is rattling, the issue may be your AC vents. Closed vents can cause banging and thumping noises from unbalanced air pressure. Check to ensure all vents are open and unrestricted.
Your AC could have a loose part in its condenser units or ventilation system. Outside debris could be also be stuck in the outdoor AC unit.
Don’t attempt to fix the problem yourself. Call an expert to inspect your air conditioner and diagnose the problem.
Incorrectly installed cooling systems also produce rattling noises, another reason to avoid DIY repairs.
Do you hear a humming noise coming from your air conditioner?
Like rattling sounds, a humming noise could indicate a loose part in the system. The humming sound is actually the vibration from the loose part.
While a humming sound may signal only minor repairs, prolonging repairs will lead to more costly issues or replacements.
There are two types of squealing AC noises to watch: high pitched and low pitched squealing.
A high pitched squeals mean there’s a problem with your AC’s compressor unit. The squealing sound results from rising pressure inside the unit.
Most AC condensers have mechanisms that sense growing pressure, effectively lowering pressure or shutting off the unit. Don’t wait to address this problem. Let Schneider inspect your condenser and perform the necessary repairs to prevent further damage.
A low pitched squeal means your outdoor AC equipment is due for a new belt.
This issue is a quick and easy fix for AC pros. Remember to book an appointment to replace your worn belt before it breaks. A snapped AC belt can shut down your entire HVAC system.
Grinding AC noises also reveal compressor problems.
Old, worn compressor parts start compressing the refrigerant, creating a noticeable grinding sound. This problem requires professional attention and immediate AC compressor repairs.
A loose fan belt may be behind the noise, as well. A technician can reposition the belt or upgrade your system with a new part.
Do you hear a buzzing sound?
Call an HVAC pro right away because this sound could indicate a more serious issue.
For starters, you may have an AC wiring issue. This problem is common with improperly installed air conditioners. HVAC electrical wiring isn’t the same as general home wiring.
The problem could come down to a single part, like a relay switch or a worn fan motor. Frozen coils can also emit buzzing sounds.
Does it sound like something is thwapping inside your home?
Thwap noises sound like objects slapping or striking against each other. Thwapping sounds mean there’s debris stuck in your AC’s blower blades.
Removing the object yourself can be dangerous, damaging your AC in the process. Call a professional before the debris wears down the blades, requiring an immediate replacement.
Clunking AC Noises
Is your AC getting closer to its expiration date?
Those clunking sounds coming from your old air conditioner are likely your motor. The motor may require a simple lubrication or replacement part. Newer AC systems don’t experience this issue.
AC Thermostat Issues
If everything else on this list checks out, you may have a faulty AC thermostat.
Here are common trouble signs to watch:
- Your AC suddenly shuts off before its cycle
- The air conditioner won’t power on at all
- The AC runs 24 hours a day
- Uneven distribution of cold air
- The AC thermostat won’t receive power
First, turn off your AC and replace the batteries in your thermostat. If that doesn’t work, inspect the location of your thermostat.
An HVAC thermostat should reside in a central location in the home, like your living room or dining room. Thermostats installed near kitchens, hallways, and windows produce inaccurate readings.
Body heat also impacts indoor temperatures. If your thermostat is in a dark hallway, it’ll read your home as colder than it is.
Don’t attempt any thermostat repairs beyond replacing the batteries. Call Schneider to diagnose the problem. You may need a new thermostat or location.
Tips for Preventing Future AC Repairs
Being mindful of AC noises, smells, performance issues, and indoor air quality changes are vital for avoiding expensive replacements. Make a checklist of these warning signs to stay ahead of AC repairs.
However, you can enjoy the extra peace of mind by booking annual AC tune-ups. Preventative maintenance is key to ensuring the reliability of your air conditioner. Learn more about Schneider Mechanical’s AC maintenance service or discover financing options to fund much-needed AC replacements.
Enjoy Your Summer with a Reliable AC
Don’t get stuck in the middle of summer without a dependable air conditioner. Assess your HVAC system for warning signs and address any AC repairs before they turn into serious issues.
Schneider is always here to help, whether you need a repair, installation, or a simple answer. Check out the blog to discover more AC tips, or give us a call right now to get your system in top shape!