Living deep in the heart of Texas has a lot of positive aspects. The culture; the history; the food; the fun. But it also means relying on your air conditioner for much of the year, spending more on energy costs, and paying closer attention to the forecast than other places in our great nation. So when AC problems rear their ugly little heads—usually in the burning days of summer—it can give you a headache even bigger than the Lone Star State.
That’s why we’ve identified a few of the most common AC problems you’re likely to face, and created a quick guide to help you avoid potential problems while saving money and staying cool in the heat of high summer.
The Most Common AC Problems for Texans
No matter where you live in Texas, chances are you’ve been running your air conditioner for a few months when the rest of the country’s just easing into their first true warm spell. And since we run our air conditioners for such great stretches of time, homeowners in Texas tend to encounter system-related issues a lot more often than our neighbors to the north.
Three of the most common problems you might encounter are:
- High Energy Bills
- Drips, Leaks, and Clogs
- Sub-par AC Performance
Let’s take a look at each of these issues and explore their causes.
High Energy Bills
If you’ve noticed a spike in your energy bills this year, and your rates haven’t changed, then chances are your AC problems are just that – a potentially serious issue with your air conditioner. Some of the most common culprits include blocked or dirty air filters, dirty coils, blocked air ducts, and a malfunctioning thermostat. If not addressed promptly, one or more of these problems can damage your system and even cause it to fail completely. Not exactly an attractive proposition when the mercury climbs above 90° and there’s not a cloud in sight!
Beyond poor performance and system failure, every dirty or malfunctioning component makes your system work harder, drawing more energy to provide the same (or less) cooling, and raising your bills accordingly.
Drips, Leaks, and Clogs
From your drain line to the gaskets and seals that help maintain your system’s coolant supply, your HVAC system has a number of points susceptible to clogs and leaks. And if your drain line gets clogged, or your system leaks coolant, you might be at risk for a range of nasty surprises, including water damage to your home, mold and bacteria growth, and electrical problems due to excess moisture. You can also experience a drop in air quality, which is of special concern to anyone with breathing issues.
In addition, your system will work harder to compensate for the problems, shortening the life of every component and pushing your energy bills to unpleasantly lofty places.
Sub-par AC Performance
This particular problem is usually a function of the other two, and not a discrete issue. Warm air blowing from the vents, a continuously running compressor, and strange smells are all signs that something is not quite kosher deep inside your system, and requires immediate attention.
As with the other problems we’ve already mentioned, a drop in performance is not just an inconvenience, but a sign that you might be at risk for some hefty repair or replacement costs if the problem isn’t handled promptly.
Making Sure Your AC Can Beat the Heat
Fortunately, simple maintenance can address many of the issues we’ve discussed before they become major problems. Installing a programmable thermostat, maximizing airflow, and making sure your air ducts, condenser coils, and filter are clean gives you a solid start on improving both performance and energy efficiency. An annual check to ensure all hoses, drain pans, and gaskets/seals are working properly can help you dodge moisture-related maladies, and avoid the complications that come from having to regularly replace or top off your refrigerant.
The best solution of all, however, may be as simple as picking up the phone. Signing up for a regular maintenance plan with a trusted HVAC professional means your AC problems will be nipped in the bud by skilled professionals, saving you time, stress, and needless repairs. It’ll also help extend the life of your system, making it easier to survive the dog days of summer without feeling like you, or your bank account, are slowly evaporating.
Is your AC in fighting trim this summer? If not, give your friendly neighborhood HVAC experts a call, and arrange for a consultation. They can help you identify current and potential issues in your system, provide easy-to-follow tips on simple maintenance tasks, and help you choose a regular maintenance plan that will help keep you and your family cool by making sure your AC can beat the heat this summer, and for years to come.