6 Signs Your AC Unit Is About To Fail

Air conditioning units are marvels of modern engineering. Unfortunately, they also have a rather nasty habit of failing on you, just when you need them most. 

The reason for this is simple: AC units are complicated pieces of machinery. They have dozens, if not hundreds of components and moving parts.  

What’s more, the way they work is actually quite complex, particularly if you have a modern system. This leaves more to go wrong.

In this post, we take a look at some of the signs that your AC unit isn’t quite the machine that is about to fail. 

It Doesn’t Produce Any Cool Air

If you keep reducing the temperature on the thermostat and it doesn’t produce any cool air, then that indicates that there’s something wrong with your equipment. Air conditioning units are highly prone to failing, particularly if they haven’t been used for a while. 

Usually, it means that you need a freon refill. Engineers do this by swapping out the old tank for a new one. 

However, it can mean something more serious, such as a blown compressor. If the unit stops working, then the entire AC unit might require replacement to be economical. 

It Continues Running All Day

Air conditioning units should cool your rooms to the desired temperature and then stop before kicking back in again. They shouldn’t just keep running continuously, never taking a break. 

If they do, it can mean a number of things. First, it could simply be that your unit is old. Most will only last around fifteen years or so. If your air conditioning unit is running all day, you might need to get it replaced.

Second, it could just be a simple issue, such as a clogged filter. If there wasn’t a problem before, then this could be the issue. 

Lastly, it might be because the unit is simply too small for the volume you’re trying to cool. No matter how much cold air it pumps out, it can never reach the desired temperature set on the thermostat.

There’s A Funky Smell

Air conditioning units shouldn’t change the smell of a room when you switch them on, but they can. If the wiring is burning out, there’s grinding in the system, or mold in the ductwork then they will whip up a strange funk. 

Unfortunately, some of these smells can cause health issues, particularly mold growth. Because of this, companies like Eggert Cooling and Heating recommend that you call a professional as soon as you can. 

It Sounds Bad

Air conditioning units should sound like gentle whirring. If you hear clanking, grinding or grating, it means that something has gone seriously wrong. Often, it indicates a broken motor bearing or slipped belt. In this case, the system simply requires a tune-up and better lubrication. 

However, if the problem is more serious, it could indicate severe damage to the system as a whole. And that may require you to replace the entire unit. 

Your Energy Bills Are Going Up

Right now, inflation is causing energy bills to rise. But if yours seem especially high, even in the current context, then there could be an issue with your AC unit. 

When air conditioning units start to fail, they work less efficiently. Because of this, they draw more mains electricity to compensate and that’s what eventually causes them to fail. 

If there is a superficial problem, an inspector should be able to sort it out. However, if there is a deeper issue, again, you may need to replace the unit. 

It Keeps Breaking Down

You expect air conditioning units to break down occasionally. But if they randomly break down for no apparent reason, then it indicates a lack of maintenance. Constantly having to call out the mechanic likely means that you’re not servicing your units every year the way you should.

To prevent this from happening and increasing your household costs, schedule annual maintenance and inspection services. Make sure that everything is ship-shape, particularly in the spring just before your unit sees higher usage. 

If lack of maintenance isn’t the issue and breakdowns continue, it may indicate that you have a low-quality unit. 


AC units can be temperamental. Like cars, they require you to maintain them regularly to keep them in good working order. Right now, technology is quite limited, meaning that virtually any brand you buy will have significant drawbacks. 

With that said, if you do properly maintain your unit, you can make breakdowns significantly less likely to occur. And, ultimately, that saves you money.

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