There’s no such thing as all or nothing when it comes to air conditioning. Austin residents want the best air conditioning service they can get, and to do that sometimes maintenance from a professional is necessary. But how necessary? And how often? How does one know when to get an air conditioning tune-up when there are so many factors?
Air conditioners aren’t like light bulbs. They aren’t just working or not working, on or off. There’s a wide grey area between in which the air conditioner may be working but not as powerfully as it could, or not as efficiently as it could be. That’s what this tip is about. It’s about being able to spot the little or sometimes big signs that something is not quite right with your air conditioner, something is working less than perfectly. Because spotting these signs is important when it comes to the health and function of your air conditioner. You want to call an Austin AC repair company when the repair is cheap and easy, not when things have progressed past that point. So, to learn more about some of the signs that your AC needs a tune-up, read on.
Time Between Tune-Ups
One of the best reasons to have your air conditioner tuned up regularly is to find potential problems before they grow into larger issues. When a certified specialist from an Austin air conditioning company is able to address a small issue when it causes nothing more than minor symptoms, you lower the risk of encountering a system failure down the line. For example, a minor refrigerant leak can eventually cripple an HVAC system, leaving you without air conditioning in your home.
That’s why you’ll find that pretty much across the board, regardless of who you talk to, it is recommended that you get your air conditioner tuned up approximately once a year. Now, the terminology you see may differ, but the concept is the same. Maintenance checks, preventative maintenance, check ups, tune-ups, it all refers to what we’re talking about here. The point is, whether there’s a small problem with your air conditioner or a larger one, it’s almost always worth it to call a professional to come check it out. Not only can a professional quickly diagnose and solve and small issues with your air conditioner you may have noticed, they can perform maintenance tasks that will increase the life and efficiency of your air conditioner.
So, generally, it is recommended that you get an AC tune up once a year, usually during the spring is the best time, before the hottest months arrive. But, if you didn’t get an annual tune up last spring, the best time is as soon as possible! It’s also recommended that you get your furnace checked out in the fall, before the coldest months arrive.
Higher Electricity Bills
The number one thing you’ll see a decrease in when your air conditioner is in need of a tune up is energy efficiency. And the number one thing you’ll see increase is your utility bills. It’s a one to one relationship. As efficiency goes down, electricity bills go up. When air conditioners are performing below maximum efficiency they cost you money, bottom line.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong with air conditioning systems. They’re comprised of a lot of parts that work hard almost constantly throughout the day. This puts a lot of strain on the system. That’s why even the most high-tech and state of the art machines are prone to issues. Small issues that don’t cause system failures can still be a pain though. When small issues occur they can cause the air conditioner to have to work harder to cool your home the same amount which in turn leads to higher electricity bills.
That’s why the best thing you can do to detect small issues early is to keep a close eye on the trend of your electricity bill costs. Ideally, you want to save a record of all your electricity bills. You can either keep the paper bills you receive in the mail in some sort of folder or special place, or if you receive and pay your electricity bill online, you can keep record of your bill amounts and the dates in a document. That way, if you ever suspect that your bills are unusually high, you can look at the bills you’ve got recently and compare them face to face with the bills you got last summer. You don’t have to guess if the bill is high just because it’s the hottest month of the year or if something isn’t performing up to par; the evidence is right there.
Now, of course, if this is the first you’ve heard of this tip you may not have records of your electricity bills that stretch back to last summer. If that’s the case, just use your best judgment. If your bills have shot up significantly and you can’t attribute that to anything, it may be time for a tune up.
Weak or Warm Airflow
The next big sign you might notice that could indicate the need for an air conditioning tune up is weak or warm airflow. If your air conditioner is putting out air that’s warmer than normal and you have to turn the thermostat lower to keep things cool, your AC needs a tune up to determine whether anything’s wrong. In most cases, a little fine-tuning is all that’s needed to get your unit running back at peak efficiency.
Of course, sometimes the air coming out of the AC unit is plenty cool enough, there’s just not enough of it. This is another case where a tune up is almost certainly called for. It could be something like a clogged or dirty air filter or faulty fan. Regardless of the cause, there should never be warm or insufficient air coming out of your air conditioner. This sign is very easy to spot. If you find yourself feeling hot all the time even though you haven’t changed the thermostat, something’s not right. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, air is air. If you’re not getting enough cool air from your air conditioner, call a professional.
A reputable Austin air conditioning service company will be able to quickly diagnose and solve and issue that can cause weak or warm airflow in your household.
“Short cycles” refers to when the air conditioner turns on and off more frequently than usual. This isn’t quite as obvious a problem as a lack of cool air or a large energy bill but it’s something to look out for nevertheless. Short cycling means your air conditioner will switch off before it has finished cooling the house and will quickly turn back on again once the thermostat recognizes that the temperature isn’t where it needs to be. This means that this sign, while different from the two other ones, often happens in conjunction with them.
That’s because all of these problems are often related. If your AC unit is going through short cycles, turning on and off frequently, then it’s probably using more energy than it needs to be. When your AC first turns on and is trying its hardest to cool your house it is using the most energy. So the more often your AC turns on the more energy it uses. The more energy it uses, the higher the electricity bill. And if your air conditioner is turning off and on frequently it probably isn’t cooling your house as much as it could. Weak airflow could cause the air conditioner to work harder than it needs to, turning off and on frequently and never quite getting the house as cool as it should.
This quick turning off and on in short spurts puts a strain on the parts of your air conditioner and can lead to greater system failures and more expensive repairs. So, as soon as you notice that your air conditioner is operating in short cycles, get it tuned up by a professional to put the issue to rest.
Strange Noises or Odors
When it comes to your air conditioner, there are the typical sounds, and then there are the atypical ones. You’re used to your air conditioner making noise but if you notice a noise you’ve never heard before when your air conditioner runs, that might be indicative of an issue that could require a tune-up.
Generally speaking, you should never hear anything other than the consistent hum of your air conditioner when it runs, like a white noise. If you ever hear anything that sounds like grating, grinding, or squealing, get it checked out as soon as possible by a professional so that you can catch a problem before it becomes an expensive problem. Other sounds to keep an ear out for include banging sounds upon startup, and the usual hum of the air conditioner but much louder than usual.
In addition to strange noises, strange odors are a sign that a tune up is in order as well, except odors are even more noticeable just due to the fact that normally your air conditioner should produce any odor whatsoever. Two odors you might detect that could be indicative of an air conditioning problem are mustiness and a burning smell. If you detect a distinct musty odor in the air of your house that might mean you have a mold problem in the air conditioning that could be taken care of by a professional, inexpensively if it’s caught early enough. If you smell a burning or pungent smell in the air and nothing is in the oven or on the stove then some insulation might have been burned through and it’s time for a tune up.
Dirt and dust can be both the cause and symptom of larger problems when it comes to air conditioning. If you notice you have to dust your home more often, if dust collects and builds like it never has before in your home, it might be due to something going on in your air conditioner. Dirty, neglected HVAC equipment is bound to blow dust into your home. An easy tune-up will restore the equipment to near new condition and prevent you from needing to dust your home every other day.
Or, if you check your air filters regularly, as you should, and you notice they get dirtier faster than usual or, if you notice your AC unit in general is collecting more dirt and dust than usual, there may be something wrong in the AC’s internals that will require a tune-up.
AC Tune-Ups and Air Conditioning Repair in Austin
Whether the problem is small or large, with barely any signs or big glaring ones, you’re better off calling a professional now rather than later. AC Express performs tune-ups on air conditioning in Austin and is dedicated to bringing you the best service you can get when it comes to anything AC.
Regular tune-ups are a great way to increase the lifespan of your air conditioner, keep it working efficiently, keep your electricity bills low and keep your house comfortable year-round. Whether you need a tune-up due to some troubling signs you’ve noticed as have been spelled out in this tip or you just want a tune-up to make sure everything is in tip top shape, call AC Express for all your AC tune-up needs. We perform same-day AC repair and tune-ups for air conditioning in Round Rock, Kyle, Lakeway, Liberty Hill, and the whole metropolitan area around Austin, Texas. Call today!