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Serving the Southern California Area



Serving the Southern California Area


Smart Choice Heating and Air Blog

When Is a Cooling System Problem an Emergency?


Sometimes it can be hard to tell when an AC problem is a problem that can wait for a more convenient time on your schedule, or if it’s an emergency that could lead to further AC damage, or even property damage.

For instance, something like low airflow could just mean your air filter needs to be changed (you should be doing this every 1-3 months) while a lack of cooled air might mean your thermostat accidentally got adjusted or isn’t in cooling mode. The problems we’ve described below, however, constitute as emergencies and you absolutely should give us a call if they occur.

Refrigerant Leak

There’s a fairly common misconception among many homeowners that refrigerant is something that naturally depletes from an air conditioner, like gasoline from a car. However, refrigerant is not fuel. Rather, it is a chemical liquid that converts to gas to make the entire cooling process possible.

Therefore, if you are losing refrigerant, it means you have a leak. A refrigerant leak needs to be repaired right away. If it’s not, it can lead to severe operational problems for your air conditioner, not excluding total system breakdown.

System Won’t Start or Stop Running

Your air conditioner has two types of electrical capacitors—the start capacitor, and the run capacitor. These components wear down over time and need replacement at some point during your cooling system’s lifespan. They are usually checked on during maintenance, but could still potentially fail you when you’re not expecting it.

As such, your system may fail to turn on—an obvious problem during the heat of summer, of course—or continue to run. An air conditioner continuing to run in the summer may not seem like a big deal, but it’s hard on your compressor and can lead to subsequent problems very quickly—which brings us to our next example.

Compressor Problems

The compressor is the heart of your air conditioner. When something goes wrong with the compressor, it means your whole entire air conditioner is at risk. So if you hear it struggling—i.e. “hard starting” or “short-cycling” (rapidly turning on and off), then it’s a sign it’s time to give us a call.

Screeching Noise

There are two possible reasons your air conditioner might make this noise. It may simply be that a fan belt has become loose—a relatively easy fix for our technicians. A more serious possibility, however, is that your compressor has too much pressure on it—this calls for immediate repairs.

Burning Smell

A slight burning smell when you turn on a heating system for the first time is normal—it’s usually a sign that dust is burning off. But your air conditioner? Burning smells from an air conditioner could be the sign of faulty or failing wiring. Be sure to shut off your air conditioner right away and give us a call to prevent the damage that can occur.

Popping or Buzzing Sound

This is another sign of a potential electrical issue, and it’s imperative that you turn off your air conditioner and have it checked by an expert if this happens.

For reliable AC repair in Santa Ana, CA, contact Smart Choice Heating and Air today!

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