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3 Problems That May Appear When You Turn on the AC

Temperatures are rising, and if you have not yet turned on your air conditioner for the season, you’ll be doing so soon. Ideally, you would have an HVAC technician perform maintenance on your system before you turn it on. If for some reason you turn on your AC before you get around to having maintenance performed, then there is a greater chance that your system will have problems.

Here are three common problems to watch out for during the first few days of using your air conditioner this spring.

1. Short-Cycling

Pay attention to how often your air conditioner turns on and how long it keeps running once it turns on. If everything is working properly, your air conditioner should run a few times per hour. Each time it runs, it should stay on for at least a few minutes until it brings your home down to the temperature selected on your thermostat.

If your air conditioner is turning on and off every couple of minutes, or even every few seconds, it is doing what is known as short-cycling. Minor cases of short-cycling are often overlooked by homeowners, which is a shame because short-cycling can make air conditioner problems worse if ignored.

There are a few possible causes of short-cycling. Your air filter may just be clogged, which is a common problem among homeowners with pets and those who don’t remember to change their filter every few months. If your filter seems fine, check under the AC unit for refrigerant leaks. If you see any pink or green fluid, your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, and you need to have it looked at by a professional.

2. Ice Buildup

Take a look at your air conditioner itself every once in a while. If it starts to become covered in ice or snow, this is not a good sign — even if the air conditioner is still blowing cool air. Ice buildup can damage the air conditioner coils and lead to refrigerant leaks. Turn your system off immediately if you notice ice buildup.

Ironically, ice buildup, though it can cause refrigerant leaks, is sometimes also caused by refrigerant leaks. When the refrigerant levels fall too low, the remaining refrigerant in the system expands too much and becomes too cold, causing condensation to appear and freeze on the air conditioner. Sometimes, freezing over is also caused by a lack of air flow. Make sure all of your vents are open, and have your HVAC technician check for obstructions in your ducts.

3. Smelly Odors

If your home develops an unpleasant odor during the first few days that your air conditioner is running, you can probably blame the air conditioner. There are many possible causes of bad odors.

Your filter may be overly dirty, causing dust and mold to blow through the system. If your home has been overly humid or you have experienced a plumbing leak recently, you may have mold growth in your ducts, resulting in odors. Occasionally, bad odors coming from an air conditioner indicate that an animal has died or defecated in your air conditioner or the associated ductwork.

Start by changing your air filter and looking into each vent to make sure you don’t see any animals. If you do not find the source of the problem, have your HVAC technician come out to explore deeper in the ducts.

If you schedule an air conditioning maintenance appointment before you turn your air conditioner on for the season, you can avoid having to deal with a lot of these problems. Your HVAC contractor will discover problems like blocked ducts and refrigerant leaks before they cause short-cycling, freezing over, or bad odors. Contact Reid’s AC & Heat if you’re looking for an HVAC company in the Tomball, TX area, including Spring, The Woodlands, Cypress, Magnolia, and northwest Houston.

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