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Written by Columbia Heating & Cooling

Top 4 Air Conditioner Questions Answered

Troubleshooting an air conditioning unit? Here are answers to some of the most common questions we’re asked.

Why is my A/C leaking water inside?

You most likely have some sort of blockage within the drain line of your unit, also known as the condensate line. If the drain line is clogged with debris it can cause water to back up and leak. The best way to remedy this situation is to have an HVAC professional use a special vacuum to remove the blockage.

Another common cause of water leakage is a damaged or rusted drain pan. The drain pan catches any condensation from the A/C unit. In particularly hot months, the pan can overflow, which is normal. However, you should take the time to inspect the pan for cracks or rust and replace if necessary.

Why is my air conditioner blowing hot air?

If your air conditioner is blowing hot air, this most likely means that there is a problem with the outside unit (compressor) or the unit is low on refrigerant.

If you have eliminated problems with refrigerant levels, you could be facing an electrical failure or problem with the compressor. Without a working compressor, your A/C unit will fail to operate properly. Consult with one of our HVAC professionals if you believe the compressor is the problem. Your compressor, or possibly the entire unit, will need to be replaced.

Other causes of the unit blowing hot air? The thermostat could be set incorrectly. It might seem obvious, but occasionally you may forget to adjust your thermostat or a curious kid could have pressed a few buttons.

Why does my A/C unit smell?

Identifying the type of smell that is coming from your air conditioner will help you determine the kind of problem you’re likely dealing with. Remember: All smells can be prevented with regular cleaning and maintenance.

These are four of the most common odors and how to deal with them:

Musty: A musty smell emitting from your unit can be a result of several problems. The first, and most obvious is mold or mildew growth. The problem could lie within the condenser coil (a problem with moisture or drainage) or the ductwork (a leak). You can remedy the smelly situation by inspecting your unit for any cracks, leaks or mildew growth and have your unit completely cleaned and drained of any excess moisture.

Feet: If your A/C smells like stinky feet, water is likely collecting in the unit and becoming stagnant. Call us to come take a look, clean the unit and insure that it’s draining properly.

Rotten Eggs: The smell of rotten eggs can be a sign of a gas leak (this can also smell similar to a skunk). This is a serious problem and can be very dangerous. Turn off the unit, open the windows, call your gas company and one of our HVAC professionals to come out and take a look.

Burning/Smoke: A smoky smell can be caused if you have a heavy smoker living in your home. The smoke can be pulled into the condenser coil and release back into your house. If you smell something burning, and you believe it could be your air conditioner, inspect the actual unit. If the smell seems to be coming from the air conditioner, turn it off and call us to come take a look.

Why is my air conditioner so loud?

Unfortunately, all A/C units make noise and an older unit will likely be louder than a newer one. If you have questions as to whether your unit is too loud, contact one of our HVAC professionals to come and take a look and make recommendations as to how to reduce noise. Regular maintenance can help quell some noise issues (such as those caused by dirty fans or parts needing lubricant).

 If you’re hearing a specific noise that hasn’t always occurred that sounds concerning, turn off your A/C unit and call us to talk to one of our HVAC professionals.

Some common sounds and causes are:

Rattling: A rattling noise can indicate something loose or coming loose within the unit. It could also be the motor in the compressor, which would be the first sign of the compressor having problems.

Grinding: A grinding noise is most likely a faulty or worn fan motor within the air conditioner.

Hissing: A hissing noise coming from the A/C unit is usually consistent with a refrigerant leak. Make sure to call us if you hear a hissing noise coming from your air conditioner.

The best way to thwart any problem with an HVAC unit is to have it regularly inspected, maintained, and cleaned. Our trained specialists are on-hand to safely inspect and repair your HVAC equipment. We even offer 24/7 emergency repair and install for all of our brands.

Need an answer to a question that we didn’t mention here? Give us a call today. We can provide expert advice and 100% FREE ESTIMATES for replacement products.