6198484617_6e7fac6e35_zIf you’ve ever heard an ominous sound coming from your air conditioning unit in the middle of the summer, you know the fear and dread that it can produce in your gut.

HVAC Philly, the local Bensalem, and Abington, PA air conditioning repair specialist have a list of warning signs to keep your eye out for to know just when to reach for your phone and contact the professionals, without breaking a sweat.

The important thing to remember is that not every system malfunction means total doom. Many malfunctions are so cheap and easy to fix, you’d be disappointed in yourself for not doing it sooner.

AC Unit Does Not Kick On At All

Possible reason: Burnt-out compressor

The fix: If the compressor fails, the unit won’t run. The only fix for this is a costly replacement of the equipment, which includes various small parts, new Freon, and labor.

Cost:
 $600 to $1,900. It might be wise to replace your air conditioner if it’s more than eight years old, or if the estimated cost of repair is more than 50% of the cost of a new unit.

Air Conditioning Will Not Turn On

Possible cause: Often, the most likely culprit is the easiest to remedy: The thermostat isn’t set correctly, or power isn’t reaching the AC unit.

The fix: Make sure that the thermostat is set to AC or “cool,” that the temperature setting is correct, and that the battery is fresh. Second, check the circuit breaker: It could simply be a tripped fuse.

Cost: Free

The Air Coming Out of The Registers Is Not as Cold as It Normally Is

Possible cause: The refrigerant lines aren’t insulated.

The fix: The outdoor unit is connected to the indoor system by two copper refrigerant lines, which should be covered with insulating sleeves. Make sure that they are. Also, the system may need its refrigerant re-charged.

Cost:
 $5 for insulating sleeves; up to $150 for a system re-charge.

Utility Bills Are Higher Than Usual

Possible cause: A spike in operating costs typically signals inefficient operation. After a dirty filter , the next most likely culprit is a choked condensing coil. Located within the outdoor unit, the coil has countless cooling fins — much like a car radiator — that can accumulate dust and debris.

The fix: Call out a pro for a spring tune-up.

Cost: $75 to $150

Furnace Has a Puddle of Water Beside It

Possible cause: During normal operation, the system generates moisture in the form of condensate. That water collects in a pan and flows out a line either into a floor drain or condensate sump basin. An accumulation of water signals a blockage or disconnection of the tube.

The fix: Inspect the tube for crimps, clogs, and disconnections. Also, if the water flows into a sump basin, ensure that the sump pump is in good working order.

Cost: Free to clean out blockage; $20 to replace the tube; $40 to $110 for a new condensate sump pump.

The Temperature In The Home Does Not Feel as Comfortable As Previous Years

Possible cause: Airflow is important for comfort. If you aren’t comfortable, the problem usually can be caused by issues with airflow.

The fix: Change the filter. (You should do this as part of regular HVAC maintenance ) Depending on the quality of the filter, the amount of people living in the house, and if there are pets, the filter should be changed every 30-60 days.

Outdoors, make sure there’s at least 24 inches of clearance on the sides and 5 feet on top of the unit. Also, check to make sure there are no obstructions to the home’s cold air returns and registers.

Cost:
 $5 to $20, depending on the filter.

The Timing Is Off On The AC, It Shuts Off Too Soon or Too Long After Temperature Change

Possible cause: Improper placement of the thermostat can wreak havoc on one’s comfort. The unit might be in direct sun, too close to a register, or near a hot oven. Also, a remodel might have you spending more time where the thermostat is not.

The fix:
 Relocate the thermostat.

Cost: Free if you’re handy (and plan on reusing the same unit); up to $250 for a new programmable unit, plus another $90 for an electrician to install it.

Odd Noises When Operating or Starting Up

Possible cause: Rattling, buzzing, or ticking? The good news is that the cause might be little more than a loose screw. The bad news is that it could be caused by a bum blower motor (indoors) or bent fan blade (outdoors).

The fix: If you’re lucky, a simple tightening here and lubricating there will fix the problem. If not, you might require a new fan motor or fan blade.

Cost:
 $75 to $150 for an inspection and tune-up; $150 to $750 for a new blower motor.

Important things to remember when it comes to your AC unit:

Let comfort be your guide. If you are feeling uncomfortable check your air conditioning for any one of the warning signs mentioned above.

12 years is the average lifespan of an ac system.  If you are nearing or have past the 12 year mark and are experiencing any discomfort it is time to reach out to your local HVAC professional to discuss your options.

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