6 Signs That Your Air Conditioner is on the Way Out

Most of us can’t imagine living without air conditioning during our scorching hot Arizona summers, but we may find out what it feels like if we don’t heed the signs that our air conditioner is on the way out.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioners use about 6% of all electricity produced in the U.S. In the southwest, air conditioning can account for as much as 17% of energy expenditures, so we need to do everything we can to keep our A/C units running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

However, every air conditioner will need to be replaced sooner or later. Knowing the signs to watch for will alert you before your air conditioner fails on a sweltering day.

Here are six signs that your air conditioner is on the way out and you’ll soon need to replace it:

  1. Your air conditioner is breaking down frequently.

Even a well-maintained older air conditioner will eventually start to have more frequent breakdowns.

If you’ve skipped regular A/C maintenance, your unit may be failing for good sooner than you think. You shorten the life of your air conditioning equipment when it’s not regularly maintained.

Energy.gov states that neglecting regular maintenance ensures a steady decline in performance and a steady increase in energy use.

In our summer climate, an air conditioner breakdown can threaten the health and well-being of our family members, especially the elderly and anyone with health problems.

Regular maintenance can extend the life of your A/C system for as long as possible, and an HVAC pro can advise you when the time is approaching to consider purchasing a new air conditioner before your current one fails.

That’s better than being taken by surprise when your older unit fails for good during the hottest days of summer.

  1. Steadily rising energy bills.

You’ll see higher utility bills as your air conditioner ages and loses efficiency. An older unit must work harder to cool your home and costs more to run.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, even if your air conditioner is only ten years old, you could save 20-40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a new, more energy-efficient model.

An older air conditioner with increasing operating costs may be on its way out.

A Chas Roberts professional can let you know if your unit is on the brink of failure and help you choose a new, more energy-efficient unit.

  1. Your air conditioner is blowing warm air, or the air isn’t getting cold enough.

A broken compressor or a refrigerant leak could be causing a lack of cool air.

If your air conditioner seems to take a long time to turn on when you adjust your thermostat, it indicates a problem that needs further investigation by an A/C technician.

If your older air conditioner is no longer cooling air, it could be a sign that it’s close to failing. An HVAC pro can tell you whether it’s worth repairing or should be replaced.

  1. There’s inadequate airflow coming from your vents.

If you’ve been changing the air filters regularly but there still isn’t enough airflow coming through the vents, it may be a sign that the compressor has failed.

You may also notice uneven cooling in your home, with some rooms not getting cool enough when the air conditioner is on.

If your A/C unit is ten years old or older, poor airflow could indicate that the unit may be about to fail entirely.

  1. Strange sounds or unpleasant smells are coming from your air conditioner.

A musty smell coming from your unit could indicate mold or mildew growth inside. A condensate line could be broken, or there may be a refrigerant leak.

A burning smell could mean overheating or a burnt wire.

If your air conditioner is making strange sounds or loud noises, it may mean a component has come loose, or a part has failed.

These are all problems that need immediate professional attention and could indicate that you may be better off replacing than repairing your failing air conditioner.

  1. The air quality in your home has declined.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, pollutants indoors can be two to five times higher than outdoors.

In Arizona, we spend a lot of time indoors in the summer months to escape the heat. If you notice the air quality in your home has declined recently, it could be your air conditioner.

Air conditioners recycle the air in our homes and can circulate pollen, dust, and pet dander through the air.

If your air conditioner has been poorly maintained or is old and no longer running at peak efficiency, it can worsen the indoor air quality.  An older air conditioner that’s barely working may harbor micro-organisms that can enter your home and negatively impact the indoor air quality.

Those with chronic illnesses or other pre-existing conditions are especially susceptible to indoor air contaminants.

If the indoor air quality in your home is noticeably worse than usual, it could indicate your air conditioner is on the way out.

Regular Maintenance Can Help Avoid Air Conditioner Breakdowns

Our air conditioners are significant investments, and regular maintenance is crucial for avoiding air conditioner breakdowns and extending the life of your air conditioner.

With regular maintenance, you’ll usually have a warning that it’s time to replace your A/C system before it fails for good.

We maintain our cars to avoid breakdowns, and we need to do the same for our air conditioners, or we may find ourselves with no air conditioning on a 100-plus degree day.

Some manufacturer’s warranties also require your air conditioner to be annually maintained to protect your warranty and keep the parts warranty current.

Chas Roberts has a 26-point maintenance plan that includes:

  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Inspect disconnect switch
  • Clean condenser coil
  • Lubricate all moving parts
  • Check airflow
  • And more

Regular maintenance will ensure your air conditioner runs at maximum energy efficiency, saving you money in energy costs.


We never want to hear the news that our air conditioner is on the way out, but all conditioners will eventually need replacement.

The best thing we can do is to keep our A/C systems well-maintained and running at peak performance for as long as possible. Regular maintenance will ensure we’re not faced with the unpleasant surprise of a failed air conditioner in the middle of summer.

When the time comes to replace your older air conditioner, a Chas Roberts pro can help you choose a new, energy-efficient unit for your home.

Chas Roberts is the oldest and largest HVAC provider in Arizona. Contact us for quality, reliable service.