With an estimated lifespan of 15 to 20 years, a new air conditioner unit is perhaps one of the sturdiest appliances you could ever have in your home.

Still, for all its durability, an AC unit can still experience problems within its life. It is, after all, a machine, and you can expect machines to act up now and then. If you have been neglecting it, then the more frequent its breakdowns are going to be.

There are many issues that an AC unit might experience, but the following are the most common:

Poor airflow
If you’re running your AC at full blast, but you can hardly feel any air coming out of the vents, then it’s likely that your unit is experiencing poor airflow.

Any number of things can cause poor airflow. One is a dirty air filter, which needs to be replaced at least every 90 days. Another possible cause of poor airflow is a problem with the blower motor. The same goes for clogged ducts or leaking ones.

You have to address poor airflow immediately because it causes not only performance problems but may lead to higher energy bills because your unit has to work twice as hard to keep you cool.

Strange sounds
AC units are typically louder than most appliances, but when it starts to produce sounds that are weirder than usual, you might want to have an HVAC professional check it out.

Electrical issues could be bothering your AC unit if you’re hearing a buzzing sound coming out of it. More worrisome is a screaming or screeching sound, which could mean that your compressor or fan motor is acting up. A banging or thumping noise may indicate that your unit has a misaligned blower or a motor mount that has come loose.

However, when you hear a hissing or bubbling sound, call your HVAC company immediately because that hissing is likely the sound of refrigerant leaking from your unit. As far as refrigerant leaks are concerned, inefficient cooling and the resulting higher energy bill would be the least of your problems.

Refrigerants pose a hazard to your family’s health. Watch out for signs of refrigeration poisoning in yourself and your family which may include difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, coughing, headaches, and skin and eye irritation.

Frozen AC unit
If you see ice forming on your AC unit, then it has a problem, because air conditioners are not supposed to ice up. The causes of ice buildup in air conditioners could range from something as simple as poor airflow caused by a dirty air filter to a lack of refrigerant because of a leak.
Some homeowners simply run their AC unit on fan mode to melt the ice, but if the ice buildup is caused by something more serious like a refrigerant leak, you have to get an HVAC professional to take a look at it.

Weird smells
It’s entirely possible that the rotting stench from your AC unit is coming from of an animal that crawled up your ducts and gave up the ghost there. Even more worrisome is if your AC unit emits a burning smell. Shut it down immediately, because that burning smell may be caused by an electrical issue, and electrical issues may lead to a fire. Don’t turn it on until a qualified air conditioning technician checks out your AC unit.

It’s not cooling the room
Your unit has been running for an hour, but the whole room still feels warm. If there’s no problem with the airflow, then your unit is not producing cold air. Cleaning or replacing the air filter might help, but if it doesn’t, then check your thermostat. If the thermostat is functioning just fine, then the problem is likely being caused by a malfunctioning PCB assembly, a faulty electronic control board, or issues with its fan or fan motor.
In any case, you will need to call your HVAC company to deal with this kind of problem.

Huge utility bills
A massive utility bill every month is not a common air conditioner problem, but it’s something that is likely being caused by air conditioner issues. Such a utility bill is a clear sign that there’s something wrong with your air conditioner.

As mentioned earlier, something as simple as a dirty air filter can cause an airflow problem, which in turn forces the AC unit to work harder to keep you cool. Dirty coils, duct leaks, low refrigerant charge, a refrigerant overcharge, and even faulty installation can take a toll on your unit’s overall efficiency, resulting in utility bills that seem to get higher by the month.

We all tend to forget about our AC units until they break down. Let’s pay more attention to our AC units even when it’s working perfectly. Let’s call our trusted air conditioning professionals to perform maintenance on it regularly so AC unit problems would be few and far between.

About The Author
Stephanie Gordon is a content marketing specialist of New AC Unit. Aside from creating online content on energy-efficiency, Stephanie enjoys running and biking with her family and friends to stay fit.