Central Air Conditioner Failure Signs

Making decisions can be challenging if you are not an expert. But when you see these central air conditioner failure signs, you can tell whether it needs immediate repair or outright replacement. If your central air conditioner is over 12 years old, it is time to start shopping for a replacement. 

The average lifespan of a central AC unit is 15-20 years. So, if yours is on the older side, you can expect it to start giving you trouble sooner rather than later.

Here are the most significant signs that indicate your central air conditioner needs attention:

  • Vents Blowing Warm Air even in Cooling Mode

Many factors cause the central air conditioner to blow warm air. It could be due to refrigerant leak, duct leak, malfunctioning compressor, clogged air filters, or dirty evaporator coils and condenser. When vents blow warm air even after setting the thermostat to cooling mode, it is a sign that the central AC fails.

If you find that your central air conditioner is blowing warm air, the first thing you should do is check the refrigerant levels. If the refrigerant is low, it could be due to a leak. 

You’ll need to have the leak repaired by a professional and recharge the system with refrigerant.

  • AC Producing Unusual Noises

When you hear the central air conditioner producing unusual noises, it can be a sign that the system is starting to fail. For example, if you hear some buzzing or rattling noises from the unit, it indicates that there is a loose part inside. 

If the noise is like a whistling sound or like the sound of a grinding machine, it suggests that the unit is facing a bigger problem. Remember that such unusual noises will not just disappear unless professionally checked and resolved by a technician. 

If you notice that your central air conditioner is not working as efficiently as it used to, it is also a sign that it needs some repair or replacement. 

This is because, over time, the system will naturally become less efficient due to normal wear and tear.

  • Ducts Giving out Poor Airflow

If the airflow is low, the duct is likely blocked, or the airflow regulator is closed. However, poor airflow may also mean the system is not operating efficiently. Some issues are more straightforward and can be easily handled. 

But the more severe problems require professional attention, especially if the central air conditioning system is composed of multiple parts or units. 

A duct blockage is one of the primary reasons for low airflow. 

The blockage can be due to any number of things, including debris, dust, or even animals nesting in the ductwork. If you suspect a blockage, the first step is to check the air filter. A clogged air filter will restrict airflow and should be replaced.

  • System Failing to Keep Moisture and Humidity at a Comfortable Range

The central air conditioner automatically moderates the humidity levels. But when the moisture and humidity seem a bit high, the system falls short in moderating it. 

It is one sign indicating a significant problem that needs an immediate solution. High humidity can cause severe problems to your family’s health, your home’s structure, and your central air conditioner itself. 

One of the most common problems caused by high humidity is condensation. When the temperature outside is warm, the air inside your home is cooler. 

This temperature difference creates condensation, leading to water damage, mold growth, and other problems.

  • Water Leaking from the Tubes

The condenser drain sometimes clogs, primarily due to accumulated dirt. A thorough cleaning of the drain line can quickly solve the issue. But if the leakage continues, it could be a significant failure sign. 

Untreated clogging and leakage may also lead to other significant problems, including mold or sludge buildup and water flooding on the ground. This situation calls for the expert’s attention to address the necessary repair or replacement of parts. 

If you have a central air conditioner, there are several things you can do to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. The condenser is the part of the unit that helps to cool the air; if it becomes dirty, it will not work either. 

It would help if you regularly cleaned the outside of the condenser with a garden hose to remove any accumulated dirt or debris. In addition, you should make sure that the area around the condenser is free of any obstructions so that air can circulate freely. 

  • Refrigerant Leaking

Getting a refrigerant refill is not the best solution whenever there is a leakage because the leak on the refrigerant is a failure sign and needs urgent repair. Due to high pressure, the coils tend to have tiny holes or cracks that cause refrigerants to leak. 

If holes are tiny, they produce hissing sounds, but if holes are large, you will hear gurgling or bubbling sounds from the air conditioner. If you hear either of these sounds, it is essential to shut down your air conditioner and call a professional for repair. 

Using an air conditioner with a refrigerant leak can cause extensive damage to the unit and may even be dangerous.

These central air conditioner failure signs are indicators that you need to call a technician immediately. The expert can tell you whether the system is suitable for minor repairs or needs replacement.

Central Air Conditioner Failure Signs? Get in Touch



ECM Air Conditioning, with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides air conditioning services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County. If you’re looking to have a new HVAC system installed, we’re on-call and ready to assist you. So if you’re in need of an HVAC installation, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an inspection! Our HVAC installation experts will check your ductwork, measure, check wire sizes, and more before making recommendations to ensure maximum efficiency and comfort. Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our HVAC installation team online by clicking here.


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