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10 Signs Your Air Conditioner is Going to Quit on You

man sweating on the couch because the AC is broken

Air conditioners are built to last. Outdoor compressor units for central, forced-air air conditioners can take all sorts of punishing weather — but like all machines, the more they work, the faster they get to the end of their useful life.

You can always have your air conditioner repaired by a Peel Heating and Cooling technician, but at some point, you’ll have to decide whether a new unit would be money better spent.

Why Your Air Conditioner Might Give Out

How hard it is to cool the air, and how well you already cooled air indoors, will both affect how many years it lasts. We usually see air conditioners live 8-15 years, sometimes longer, but it depends on a handful of different factors.

Humidity

In the Mississauga, Brampton, & GTA West Areas of Southern Ontario, annual humidity remains relatively high, averaging 81% in the morning and 61% in the afternoon. Lake Ontario puts a lot of water vapour in the air all year round.

Humid air contains more water vapour than dryer air, so it’s better at retaining heat. Water absorbs heat so effectively because of the unique way water molecules behave, which causes them to absorb kinetic energy (heat). Water and water vapour also release that energy slowly.

Because of the humidity, your air conditioner has had to work harder to keep the air cool compared to dryer parts of the country. 

Poorly Sealed Windows

Because of that heat and humidity outside, you might not want to open a window. You might have been getting better at keeping air inside all hours of the day, but a significant volume of conditioned air might be escaping anyway.

Keeping insulation seals tight, and air circulating inside is key, so you might want to check the caulking on your windows. If it’s cracked, a home improvement store will supply you with the tools you need to restore that seal.

Lack of Maintenance

You might not have made use of regular maintenance to keep tabs on problems developing. Air conditioner maintenance might not always be at the top of the list for your home’s budget, but it can extend the life of your air conditioner and prevent more expensive repairs.

10 Signs You Should Consider a New Air Conditioner

two men inspecting ventilation hose

You’re Spending Money on Repairs Every Year

Maintenance every year is great, but constant repairs are a sign that your air conditioner is a lost cause. If you find yourself constantly calling for air conditioning repair, it’s likely time for a new AC.

Your AC is Blowing Hot Air

No cold air could mean there are a number of other problems piling up, like low refrigerant or a broken compressor motor. If the compressor goes, replacement of that part can be the same as a whole air conditioner replacement.

The AC Unit is Turning On Constantly

As you get used to the air conditioner in your home, you’ll probably notice a baseline for how often your AC turns on during an average summer. In recent years, you might have noticed it runs much more often. An increasing energy bill in the summer could be another sign your AC is on more than it used to be.

You Hear Buzzing on the Blower Fan

If you hear a loud whirring, almost buzzing sound, that means the blower fan doesn’t work well anymore. Seals and joints on the fan can crack or come loose. Grime or excessive dust can hinder its movement, putting stress on the blower fan’s motor. A buzzing sound is never a good sign, since air conditioners nowadays are designed to run quietly.

Musty Odours

Musty odours coming from the AC unit might mean the components’ seals are wearing out and growing mold or mildew in the cracks. Mold and mildew can be removed by a cleaning, but if there are cracks in the seals of multiple components, and water is gathering where it shouldn’t — mould and mildew can quickly return, degrading the air quality.

Irregular Air Filter Replacement

The air filter in the blower duct hasn’t been replaced in years. In forced-air heating and cooling systems air filters are key to easing work for the fan and providing air quality throughout the house. 

You Have an Analogue Dial Thermostat 

Analogue thermostats have to be precisely calibrated, or they’ll overwork the central blower fan on a forced-air AC system. Stress on the motor can lead to telltale buzzing sounds coming from the fan.

Refrigerant Lines Develop Leaks More Often

Refrigerant is the lifeblood of your air conditioner, and leaks in the lines can develop over time. Low refrigerant can overwork the compressor quite a bit, as it struggles to move what little refrigerant is left in efforts to maintain the same temperature. 

Blocked Intake

The fan motor in the compressor is worn out. One reason might be that the intake has been blocked for a long time, since that will cause it to overheat. An overheated compressor motor will literally break down much more quickly on average.

Worn Compressor Capacitor

The capacitor sits on the compressor’s motor, and like most components, it wears out over time, meaning the compression and fan system doesn’t have the startup electricity needed, so it lugs.

As mentioned, it might be worth doing the math on the age of your unit. A central air conditioner should last 8-15 years if properly installed and maintained

A New Air Conditioner is Worth the Investment

If your current air conditioner has 1 or more of these issues, you’re likely better off with a new one. The experts at Peel Heating and Air Conditioning are here for all your AC needs, including a free quote.

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