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W.C. Butler Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

Subtle Signs That Your AC Is Struggling


While our recent weather certainly hasn’t warranted the regular use of our air conditioning systems, summer is closer than you think. When temperatures (and humidity) increase this year, you want to make sure that your cooling system is ready.

The best way to ensure this, and reduce repair needs, is with professional maintenance. Annual tune-ups (or biannual, if you’re using a heat pump system) will help your system work as effectively and efficiently as possible, for as long as possible.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that your air conditioner might need repairs in between maintenance sessions. So if you notice any of the following signs, or anything else that seems amiss, no matter when you turn your air conditioner on this spring or summer, then please give us a call.

The Air Coming From the Vents Isn’t Cool

This is actually a perhaps surprisingly easy problem for homeowners to brush off at first. Depending on how warm it is outside when you switch your thermostat over to “cooling” mode for the year, you might just think that your air conditioner is struggling to cool because of the high temperatures outside.

There are actually two problems with this assumption:

  1. It’s true, an air conditioner will struggle to cool if it’s too hot outside, but we’re talking a 20-25° difference between what it is outside and what you have your thermostat set to. This will not actually affect the temperature of the air coming out of the vents.
  2. This is because, the temperature of the air coming from your vents never changes. What changes is the temperature of the rooms you’re cooling, according to how long your air conditioner runs.

No matter the time of year and no matter how hot it is outside, if you notice that the air flowing through your air conditioner vents is lukewarm, give us a call. You could have a ductwork breach, a refrigerant leak, or some other problem.

You’re Paying Too Much for Your Utility Bills

This is a pretty subjective problem. What’s “too much” for one person may be acceptable to another. But what we would like you to look at is a comparison–are your utility bills dramatically higher than they were at this same time last year?

If so, it’s a sign that something in your household is working inefficiently, and it could very well be your air conditioner to blame. After all, your HVAC systems account for half of all the energy consumption in your home.

Your System is Short-Cycling

Your central air conditioner is designed to run in 15-minute increments, 2-3 times an hour. If, instead, it is cycling on, only running for a few minutes, then shutting back off without actually completing a full cooling cycle, then it’s doing something called short-cycling.

Short-cycling is both the symptom of an already existing air conditioner problem, and the potential cause of future problems. This isn’t a repair need you want to wait to address, so please give our team a call!

W.C. Butler Heating and Air Conditioning is your trusted resource for air conditioning repair in Rocky Mount, VA. Contact us today!

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