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10 Silent Signs Your Air Conditioner Is Failing

Worried your A/C unit is nearing its final rest? Here are some telltale signs your air conditioner is failing.

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room air conditioner in garage

Blowing Warm Air

If your air conditioner is suddenly blowing warm air instead of cold, that can indicate a range of issues, including a broken compressor or a refrigerant leak.

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Shutterstock 159164966 air conditioner repair man hvacPavel L Photo and Video/Shuttersticj

Slow to Turn On

It shouldn’t take several minutes for your unit to kick on after your adjust your thermostat. A delayed cooling could mean it’s time to call a repair technician.

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Male technician fixing air conditioner indoorsAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Insufficient Air Flow

Much like a unit that takes a long time to start blowing air, it’s a troubling sign if your air conditioner isn’t blowing enough cool air. If you notice a stark difference from your unit’s typical capacity, consider calling a repair specialist.

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old-leaky-windowsavtk/Shutterstock

Water Leaks

Leaks are never a good sign, whether with your plumbing or your A/C unit. Small amounts could be just condensation. A large pool or discoloration could indicate a more serious issue, like a refrigerant leak.

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fin comb for air conditioner maintenance

Unusual Odors

A foul smell coming from your unit could mean lots of things, none of them good — things like mold, mildew or a burned out wire. Those issues call for immediate repair.

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Two people checking out an air conditionerCourtesy American Standard HVAC

Frequent Repairs

This one seems obvious, but if you’re making frequent repair calls, your air conditioner probably doesn’t have a lot of life left in it. At a certain point, you’re better off buying a new unit than funding continued repairs.

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Sweat stains DWaschnig/Shutterstock

High Humidity Levels

High humidity in your home can be especially frustrating if you live in a humid climate. Don’t wait to fix the issue — too much humidity can lead to mold or mildew problems.

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fix air conditionerJP WALLET/Shutterstock

Frequent Cycling

Another troubling sign for your air conditioning unit is if it is constantly starting and stopping. A properly functioning unit should blow steady air, then turn off once the room reaches the right temperature.

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bills mailAlex Hinds/Shutterstock

High Electricity Bills

Keep a close eye on your utility bills, especially if you rely on auto draft. A major spike might be attributed to the transition out of winter, but it also might mean your unit is not functioning properly. Check your statement from previous years to compare.

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window air conditionerND700/Shutterstock

It’s Old

Even the nicest, most expensive unit won’t last forever. Your air conditioner should last 10 to 15 years, depending on the model/brand and proper maintenance. If you’re pushing that timeline, it might be time to buy a new unit soon.

Alex Shoemaker
Alex Shoemaker is the Digital Newsletter Editor of Family Handyman.