The Early Warning Red Flags of AC Issues

Can you prevent a major AC malfunction? You don’t need to wait until your home feels warm to call an HVAC technician. While not all problems are preventable, take a look at the early warning signs that could signal a major air conditioner issue before it starts.

Electricity Bill Issues

Did your last month’s electricity bill double? A sudden spike in energy usage is a red flag you shouldn’t ignore during the summer cooling season. Damage, wear, clogs (in air ducts or the filter), or other similar issues can push your air conditioner to work harder. The harder the system works, the more energy it uses. This results in increased cooling costs.

If you’re not sure whether your home’s energy bills are proof the AC system could fail soon, consider:

  • Normal AC energy usage. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, American homeowners spend a collective $11 billion on cooling annually. This high figure shows the clear cost of AC usage. If this is your first experience with cooling, your high bills may fit into the normal range.
  • Your AC system. Older systems tend to use energy less efficiently. High summer electricity bills may indicate an inefficient system — and not an impending issue. But if you have a newer (or new) system, a sudden spike could point to a problem.
  • Your home. Poor insulation, leaky single-pane windows, and use of window treatments can impact your AC system’s energy usage. If you recently made changes to your home, or need to, you could notice a difference in the electricity bill.
  • Other energy usage. Did you add a new major appliance? Do you use electronics more than usual during the summer months? Other energy-drawing appliances or home items can impact your electricity bill.

A new air conditioner in a home without serious air leaks (from windows, doors, or poorly insulated areas) shouldn’t cause an increase in energy usage. If other appliances aren’t at fault and you’ve noticed a change from month to month in energy usage, contact an HVAC contractor for an inspection. Problems that limit the system’s ability to freely function could force it into using more power.

Constant Use

When was the last time you didn’t hear the hum of your central air conditioner? If you can’t answer this question, this pre-problem symptom should give you pause.

If your air conditioner won’t turn off or turns off less often than it should, you should:

  • Check the filter. A clogged filter can stop cold air from reaching your home. This forces the system to work continuously. Clean or replace the filter to stop the constant cooling and reduce the risk of serious damage.
  • Check the vents. Are the vents closed? Closed vents don’t allow cool air to enter your home. This can raise the indoor air temperature and make it almost impossible for the system to turn off.
  • Check the ducts. Does the AC system have leaky, damage, or clogged ducts? Without adequate airflow, the system won’t cool efficiently. This can cause the air conditioner to turn on more often than it should.
  • Check the size. Do you have a new system? An improperly sized system may not cool your home efficiently or remove enough humidity from the air. This can force the air conditioner to turn on continuously.

While some issues (such as a clogged filter or closed vent) are easy for homeowners to correct on their own, most AC issues require professional attention. Never attempt to repair ducts, inspect the interior or exterior unit, or make repairs by yourself. If your system won’t turn off, you need a qualified HVAC contractor to address this red flag sign.

Do you need to hire a new HVAC contractor? Contact Jeb Air Solutions for more information.

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