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Early Watch for Air Conditioning Repair Signs

Posted on: June 12, 2017

It’s already hot here in Durham, with temperatures climbing into the 90s during some days—and it isn’t even officially summer yet! We can expect many more blistering hot days to come, especially during July, which is only a month away.

You’ve got your air conditioning system running already, we’re certain of that. If you’ve had the system regularly maintained with annual inspections and tune-ups from professionals before the heat hits, the AC has a good chance of working through the season without encountering major malfunctions or a drop in efficiency. But professional maintenance can’t prevent all problems with an air conditioner, so below we’ve put a list of warning signs an AC may send out during this time of the year that it’s time to call us for air conditioning service in Durham, NC.

Strange sounds

You have an idea of what your air conditioner sounds like when it’s running. There’s a regular cycle of the sound of the compressor coming on and the hum of the fans. Pay attention to any unusual sound that interrupts this pleasant white noise, because it often indicates there’s something wrong. Clattering and clanging can mean mechanical parts that have come loose. Hissing may mean escaping refrigerant. Grinding and screeching warn of motors that are wearing down and may burn out.


We mentioned above the sound of the compressor turning on and off regularly. This is an important sound to pay attention to, because if starts to happen rapidly—i.e. multiple times per hour, every 15 minutes or so—then the air conditioning system is short-cycling. The compressor isn’t completing its full cooling cycle and is instead shutting down prematurely, only to restart a short time later.

There are many possibilities for why an AC starts to short-cycle. It could be a clogged air filter (make sure you change the filter every 1–3 months), a miscalibrated thermostat, a loss of refrigerant, or even an AC system that was improperly sized when it was installed. Whatever the cause, it needs to be solved because the damage to the compressor can be catastrophic.

Uneven cooling

This is one of the more subtle signs of AC trouble and often gets ignored. But when one or more rooms in a house aren’t receiving the same level of cooling as the others, it indicates something is amiss. The issue might be with the rooms: poor insulation, windows in need of caulking. It might be trouble in the ventilation system: duct leaks in need of sealing. Or it may be an air conditioner losing its cooling power because of a drop in refrigerant, an iced-over coil, problems with the blower fan, etc. Have technicians take a look and find out the source of the problem.

Acrid smells from the vents

Dusty smells will come from the vents when the AC turns on for the first time in summer. This is normal; it’s only the dust that collected in the ducts during the slower time in spring; the odor will go away within an hour. But if you start to notice an acrid, burning smell from the vents, it’s probably because a motor is burning out and on the verge of failing.

Bud Matthews Services is here for all your home service needs in Durham and the surrounding areas. We offer 24-hour service for AC repair emergencies.

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We recognize that our services are of a special and often emergency nature, and we remain fully committed to fulfilling the needs of our community even as potential demand for our services may increase with more families either choosing to or being required to remain home for extended periods of time. More importantly, the safety of our employees and customers is always our highest priority, and we recognize that heightened diligence and focus on health and safety is required during these challenging times. We are actively monitoring updates from the CDC, WHO and local health officials; and we have been proactively and continually implementing measures and developing plans to prioritize the health and well-being of our employees and customers. Including:

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