3 Symptoms You Can't Ignore On Aging AC Systems

Replacing an air conditioning system isn't a cheap job. Getting the most efficiency from your new unit usually means replacing the condenser and air handler units as a pair, which can be costly in both parts and labor. If you're trying to save some money, it can make sense to extend the life of your existing air conditioner for as long as possible.

While you'll probably need to give up the fight eventually, there are a few repairs you can make to keep even a venerable old AC unit operational. If you want to make sure your AC can keep you cool for a few years longer, be sure to watch for these three symptoms and schedule air conditioning repair services as soon as you notice trouble.

1. Short Cycling Accompanied By High Humidity

What Causes It: This symptom typically appears when you're suffering from a refrigerant leak, which can be especially common as your air conditioner ages. Low refrigerant pressure ultimately results in ice on your evaporator coils, which will cause your system to shut down too quickly. In addition to short cycling, you're likely to notice a drastic reduction in your AC's ability to dehumidify your home.

Why It Matters: Anything that impacts the refrigerant cycle can stress your compressor. Additionally, refrigerant leaks can reduce oil circulation in the compressor motor, placing it under even more strain. If your compressor is already old, a refrigerant leak might finish it off. Promptly addressing leaks ensures your compressor can keep carrying on for a while longer.

2. Frequently Tripped Breakers

What Causes It: Your breakers trip when a load on the circuit exceeds their capacity, which can happen for several reasons. A failing compressor is one possibility, but there are many other potential causes. Bad capacitors, failing blower motors, or even dirty air filters can also cause sudden surges that overload and trip your AC's circuit breaker.

Why It Matters: A tripped breaker will cause your compressor to shut down suddenly and violently, placing more wear on an expensive and delicate component. If you're trying to extend the life of your system, this is something you want to avoid as much as possible. An HVAC contractor will help you get to the bottom of your electrical woes and (hopefully!) save your compressor.

3. Condenser Unit Noises

What Causes It: Loud noises from your condenser unit might be a sign of compressor trouble, but the fan is a more likely culprit. Your condenser fan releases air from the coils and helps keep your compressor cool. These fans can fail due to age, general wear and tear, or physical impacts from branches and other yard debris.

Why It Matters: A failing condenser fan impacts your system efficiency and can potentially reduce your compressor lifespan. If the fan still runs, then noises are a sure sign that you'll need to replace it soon. Taking care of this problem now will keep your AC running while ensuring a failed fan doesn't impact your system's longevity.