4 Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs a Tune-Up

Just like you take your car in to the mechanic, or visit your doctor for an annual checkup, your air conditioner can benefit from a tune-up every once in a while too. Since we rely on our air conditioners so heavily during the long, triple-digit summers, they’re prone to wear-and-tear at a faster rate than air conditioners in milder climates. Without a little TLC every once in a while, your air conditioner is more likely to break down or fail completely long before its lifespan is over.

Wondering if your air conditioner needs a tune-up? Here are four signs you shouldn’t ignore.

1.      Poor air flow

If you stand by the vents in your home, you should feel a strong rush of air from your air conditioner. If you don’t, you’re likely dealing with poor air flow, and you’ve probably been feeling the effects. If your air conditioner isn’t producing enough air, your home can feel uncomfortably warm and stuffy, no matter how low you turn the thermostat.

A failing compressor is the most common culprit of poor air flow. The compressor is essentially the heart of your air conditioner. Its job is to circulate refrigerant in order to enable heat exchange through the coils of the indoor and outdoor unit. If the compressor fails completely, no cooling can take place. Compressors are very expensive to replace, and it’s generally more cost effective to replace the entire unit instead.

The problem could also be with your ductwork. Debris gets caught in ducts over time, obstructing airflow and causing your air conditioner to work harder than it needs to. Getting your ducts cleaned can restore airflow and ensure that your air conditioner can be relied on when you need it the most.

2.      Short cycling

Short cycling is when an air conditioner’s compressor turns on and off multiple times per hour, with each cooling cycle lasting 15 minutes or less. If left unaddressed, short cycling can damage vital components in your air conditioner, including causing the compressor to burn out and requiring the system to be replaced years earlier than it should.

Short cycling is a common problem with many causes. Two of the most common causes are thermostat problems and low refrigerant.

Thermostat problems

If your thermostat is sending incorrect readings, otherwise known as ghost readings, the air conditioner may begin to turn on and off frequently. This is a good opportunity to replace the thermostat with a newer, more advanced energy-saving model.

Low refrigerant

Whether it’s due to a leak or just running low, lower than normal refrigerant levels cause your air conditioner to work overtime to cool your home. This increased workload creates prime conditions for malfunctions such as short cycling.

Clogged air filters

When it comes to short cycling, the problem may not actually be with your air conditioner. Sometimes, your air conditioner may be blowing cool air, but the air can’t escape through the accumulated dust and dirt in a clogged filter. This can cause the system to overwork, and eventually overheat, shutting everything down before the cooling cycle is complete. This problem has a relatively simple fix—just replace your filters and enjoy the cool air.

3.      Strange noises

Very few air conditioners are truly silent. Some noises are normal, such as a pop or a faint whistling noise upon startup. Other noises, however, are your air conditioner’s way of telling you that something is definitely not normal.

If you hear any of the following noises while your air conditioner is running, it’s best to contact a professional sooner rather than later. It’s also a good practice to turn the air conditioner off to prevent further damage until you know the cause of the noise.


A loud banging noise usually means there’s a loose or broken part somewhere in your air conditioner’s compressor. It can also indicate that the indoor blower is unbalanced, or that the compressor is beginning to go bad.


Clanking noises are often a sure sign that the blades of the outdoor fan are off balance and hitting other parts. If not addressed, this issue can cause bigger problems down the line.


Whether you notice it inside or outside, a buzzing noise from your air conditioner typically indicates the presence of electrical problems. These problems could include:

  • Broken or failing motor
  • Failing compressor
  • Loose wiring


If your air conditioner always squeals when it starts up, there’s probably no need to worry. But, new squealing noises should be cause for concern. Failing motors in outdoor fans and indoor blowers can squeal loudly as they go bad.

If the squealing noise progresses to a loud, high-pitched, unrelenting scream, turn off your air conditioner and call for emergency AC services immediately. Screaming noises could indicate high pressure within the compressor, which can be dangerous.

4.      Higher energy bills

Have your energy bills gone from normal to nuts when compared to last year? Everything from failing parts and aging fixtures to components that just need a little TLC can cause your air conditioner to malfunction. This malfunctioning often results in higher charges on your energy bills. A tune-up from a qualified HVAC professional might be just what your air conditioner needs to get back to good working order, bringing down your energy bills in the process.


Turn to the experts at Chas Roberts for all your AC needs

Whether your air conditioner makes an annoying noise, doesn’t work as well as it used to, or is generally in need of a good tune-up, our helpful technicians are here to help.  Our 26-point maintenance plan ensures that we leave no stone unturned when it comes to your air conditioner. From checking refrigerant levels and adjusting thermostat calibration to cleaning condenser coils and measuring air flow, no component is too big or too small for us to inspect. When all is said and done, and you experience the results, you’ll understand what sets Chas Roberts apart from countless others in the Valley.

When cool air is a necessity, don’t settle for anything less than the best. Contact Chas Roberts for AC service, installation, and maintenance.