Many of the problems that air conditioning units display can seem confusingly similar regardless of whether a system needs to be fixed or just maintained. There are, however, a number of small tricks you can use to determine whether a problem is bad enough to call for the attention of a professional. The following signs of trouble will let you know when it's time to contact an air conditioning repair services provider.
Mild or Warm Blowing
The most obvious indicator that there might be trouble with a setup is that it's now blowing cold air. There are a number of AC maintenance issues that can cause this problem, with the most likely being that the coils that exchange heat to the air outside may be covered in dirt. If the coils are cleaned quickly using a brush, cold air should return, but a system can operate under strain and develop more issues if coils are not cleaned as soon as trouble is identified.
Should that not remedy the problem, you may want to check all the vents to see that there aren't any cracks or holes. These can usually be sealed with tape.
If you're dealing with an older system, the chances are higher that your unit may require the attention of an air conditioning maintenance services contractor. One common issue that pops up on older systems is that the refrigerant supply may need to be recharged. This is a job that calls for help of a licensed professional, and in many jurisdictions, it's illegal for anyone by a contractor to add or remove refrigerant from a system.
Odd smells can come from an AC unit for a variety of reasons. Ones that are placed near trees may accumulate decaying leaves during the fall season. If there's a mechanical or an electrical problem, however, you'll notice a less natural smell. You should be quick to call a technician if unusual smells are accompanied by any noises.
Frost or Ice
In some cases, an AC system may start developing frozen condensation, typically on the outside components. This is often the product of a decrease in efficiency over time, with the unit no longer being able to fully dehumidify the air as required. While it may be possible that a blockage is causing the problem, it's wise to call an AC contractor when you see freezing of any parts.