9 Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Repair or Replacement

Air conditioning systems need routine maintenance to keep them working efficiently. However, no matter how well you maintain your AC unit, you will likely need repairs or replacement at some point during its lifespan. This often happens during extreme weather conditions when the AC systems are pushed to work beyond their capabilities.

Knowing the signs that your AC needs repair can help you avoid expensive air conditioning repair services by catching the minor problems early before they become bigger issues. Here are some signs that may indicate an issue with your air conditioner that needs to be addressed.

1. Freon or water leaks around the AC unit

Your AC unit relies on refrigerant to cool your home and might produce steam as it runs. However, there should be no buildup or leaks of these liquids into your home. Pooled water or a constant leak around your air conditioner indicates that your cooling system is not working correctly.

A freon leak can be extremely dangerous for your family and pets, while water leaks can cause serious structural damage. Call an air conditioner service immediately if you spot pooled water around your air conditioning unit. You could save a lot of money when you catch this issue before it becomes bigger.

2. Frequent breakdowns and repairs

If you usually get regular AC maintenance from a qualified technician, your air conditioner shouldn’t experience breakdowns in the summer. Most common AC problems are caused by lack of maintenance, and having your system maintained yearly will prevent these issues. In addition, skilled air conditioner technicians can preemptively spot and fix any issues your air conditioner may be experiencing before the summer season.

It’s a call for concern when your AC gets frequent breakdowns despite routine maintenance. While you may not require an AC replacement immediately, you should begin getting ready for one just in case your system becomes unfunctional. Multiple breakdowns mean frequent repairs, and the cost of those fixes may increase.

3. Significant increase in energy bills

Unless there are changes in your home’s energy use, your utility bill should remain constant every month, fluctuating a bit during the summer or winter. If your energy usage has stayed the same, but your monthly energy bill has notably risen, it could be the time to replace your air conditioner. Increased utility bills may indicate that your air conditioner is malfunctioning or has become ineffective.

4. AC life expectancy is over

Unlike furnaces, air conditioners are usually outdoors and exposed to extreme weather conditions throughout the year, shortening their lifespan. Best air conditioning brands last between 15 to 20 years, while conventional ones last around 10 to 12 years.

If your air conditioner is approaching this age, it might be deteriorating due to normal wear and tear. However, the strength and efficiency of your AC system depend on different factors, including whether or not you properly maintain the system throughout its lifespan.

The life expectancy of your unit can also be affected by how often you use it and the humidity level of the area you live. Fortunately, if you have a home warranty and your air conditioner fails due to old age or normal wear and tear, you can get it replaced at a lower cost.

5. Strange smells from your air conditioner

A well-maintained air conditioner shouldn’t emit any foul smell. If it does, there is an issue. A strong odor may indicate a burned-out wire inside the unit, while a stale smell may indicate mold growth inside the air conditioning system.

Luckily, a quick diagnostic visit can determine whether your air conditioner needs a turn-up and a complete cleaning or a more high-tech solution. UV lights can also help remove stubborn microbial growth in your air conditioner.

6. Malfunctioning thermostat

The thermostat is the brain of your air conditioning unit. It communicates with the AC, telling which components to operate and for how long. If your AC unit is turning on or only running for a short period before shutting down, it can indicate your thermostat is malfunctioning, which is one of the signs that your AC needs repair. Your air conditioner thermostat may sometimes need to be replaced to ensure your system can run accurately again.

7. Unusual sounds or noises

A well-maintained air conditioner should run fairly quietly. If you start hearing strange noises from your AC unit, such as grinding or squealing, your air conditioner may require repairs, even when everything else is running correctly. Loud noises could mean something needs to be cleaned or there are loose parts, which can lead to significant damage if left unattended.

The sooner you address these noises with the help of an AC expert, the better your air conditioning unit. The problem can usually be fixed before you need to replace the entire unit.

8. High humidity

While you can expect sticky weather outdoors during the summer or spring, that doesn’t mean you want to experience high humidity inside your home. Your air conditioner should automatically regulate humidity levels. If your AC unit can’t maintain moisture level within a comfortable range, it means you need air conditioner repair. When left unattended, humidity can encourage mold and mildew growth or lead to multiple issues for your family’s health. Also Read – Are You Maintaining a Healthy Roof? Here’s How To Find Out

9. Air conditioning is blowing warm air

The temperature outside may get high during summer, but your home inside should remain cool and comfortable if you have an air conditioner. If your unit is blowing warm air, it’s definitely not keeping your family comfortable during the hot and muggy summer season.

Warm air coming from your vent while the air conditioner is running is one of the signs your AC unit needs repair. It could indicate an issue with the compressor or that your unit is low on refrigerant. It might also mean a duct issue somewhere that is pulling air from outdoors or an attic place instead of the compressor.


Air conditioning units are complex and need a lot of correctly functioning components. However, paying attention to your air conditioner’s performance can help identify early signs before they become bigger problems. Call an air conditioner repair company to repair or replace your AC unit when you notice one of these signs.