Answering Questions about Air Conditioner Problems

Not that there’s a particularly good season for it, but this is a particularly bad time for air conditioners to stop working. As summer approaches and the weather is humid and unpredictable, people’s air conditioners are adjusting to the new season and suffering from the damage they sustained during the winter season. Sometimes, they sputter and die and don’t do anything—other times they start behaving wildly, far exceeding people’s worst expectations. Regardless of the level of problem, there’s a good chance we’ve seen it, and in our newest blog we’re going to discuss them. That being said, let’s answer some questions!

Why Is My Air Conditioner Producing Funky Smells?

This is a question that we receive quite a bit, as there’s a lot of different smells, as well as reasons for those smells. Each smell has a different method of repair. Most of the time, when a funky smell is coming from your air conditioning system, it’s time to call a professional to come take a look. However, if you are smelling something similar to rotten eggs or spoiled food, the culprit may be a dead critter in your air vents. Sometimes, during the winter, animals seek refuge in air ducts high in a property’s ventilation and then, unfortunately, die. As the summer moves in, the smell will spread throughout a property.

People often report to us that their air conditioning unit is producing a smell similar to socks or dirty feet—not very pleasant. This is the smell of mold and mildew, a smell some are very familiar with already. This means that mold has sprouted either on or around your air conditioner. Depending on the severity of the mold infestation, you may need mold remediation services. Over time, exposure to mold and mildew can cause all sorts of problems, so you should get this checked immediately.

If there’s a leak in a nearby sewage or gas line, you may smell a skunky, sulfur smell in your ventilation system, depending on the way your infrastructure is designed. Typically, natural gas and some other substances have Methyl Mercaptan added to them to add a smell to an otherwise odorless substance. There are many reasons for this smell, none of which are very pleasant—definitely get professional help.

Other people have reported burning, smoky or even gunpowder-like smells coming from their HVAC systems. This is indicative of a faulty circuit board, or bad wiring. Sometimes, burning plastic, dust and other materials will cause a smoky, burning odor. Either way, if you smell burning from your heating and cooling system, get help fast, it could be a fire hazard.

Where is All This Ice on My Air Conditioner Coming From?

Normally, air flow keeps water from building up on the cold coils and elements of an air conditioner. However, when air flow gets blocked, ice will eventually form on these elements, especially the cold evaporator coils that extract moisture from the surrounding air. The best way that we can advise to fix ice building up on your air conditioning unit is to increase air flow to the surrounding area.

There are many ways that this can be done. First, check the venting on the air conditioner, and possibly vacuum away any superficial dust that might be blocking any elements. It’s also important to make sure you’re not closing air conditioning vents for prolonged periods of time. You can also add fans and other appliances to improve air flow to the area where your evaporator coils are located indoors. Remember, closing vents for extended periods of time puts unnecessary stress on A/C systems.

Why is My Air Conditioner Making Weird Sounds?

If your air conditioner is making noises, you’re going to need professional help. It takes years to become certified enough to open up and service heating and cooling units safely. Cold 1 Services strongly advises against trying to fix any internal heating and cooling problems by yourself. Take note of the kind of noise it’s making, whether it’s clicking, clanking, howling, whistling, cracking or rumbling.

If you’re using a wall unit and it’s making noises, make sure that it’s situated in a safe and stable spot. This is especially true if you live in a high-rise or elevated building. It’s not unheard of for air conditioner units to shake themselves out of place and end up falling out of their enclosure. Check your AC units for visibly loose screws, cracks, bends, dents or signs of tampering. Check your outlets for signs of any problems. Don’t neglect a noise coming from an air conditioner— it could be any of the elements within the system, and ignoring it could result in a serious problem.

Why is My Air Conditioner Leaking?

As we’ve said in previous blogs, air conditioners extract warmth from the air around them through a process of compression, evaporation and condensation in close conjunction with refrigerants and other technology. As this happens, the unit itself will become cold, especially around the evaporator coils. In more humid environments, water will build up and bead on the system, and eventually end up dripping off. Usually, HVAC systems are supposed to have drip pans and drainage systems to prevent water from getting on flooring or the foundation of a house. Check the drip trays, and talk to us about controlling your leaking- we know many different solutions.

Why Won’t My Air Conditioner Cool Down?

The very same evaporator coils that gather condensation, and can cause leaking, can also gather dirt and debris and become clogged and much less effective. When coils need to be cleaned, it’s best to contact a professional. There is a lot of electricity in these elements and they are not cleaned with conventional cleaners.

If you’ve recently had some abnormally cold weather, which is known to happen, check your thermostat. Sometimes, a thermostat will switch back to winter or cold weather mode and need to be switched back to cooling mode. This happens more frequently than you’d think—people think their air conditioning is broken, when really it’s just the thermostat getting the wrong idea.

Sometimes, the problem really boils down to a lack of refrigerant (no pun intended). If you have an older heating and cooling system, it might be using dangerous CFCs to cool your property, and it may be in your and the planet’s best interests to replace it with a newer unit. At Cold 1 Services, we only use the most environmentally safe refrigerants possible with all of our clientele. To learn more about having the refrigerant in your HVAC systems replaced, contact us today.

We hope we were able to answer some of your more difficult questions regarding your HVAC systems. If you have some other questions that don’t fit into these categories, please contact us today. You can also reach us to schedule appointments and consultations on fixing any of the aforementioned problems. Reach us today by phone in Pennsylvania at 215.310.0116 or in New Jersey at 856.375.1472.

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