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Older AC Issues: Refrigerant, Ice Buildup, Wear-and-Tear

Older AC Issues: Refrigerant, Ice Buildup, Wear-and-Tear

As home and building owners in Utah begin preparing their outdoor AC units for the impending spring and upcoming summer periods, a few issues may be present from the long winter (or even from before this). One common culprit in such issues forming: The unit itself being on the older side, which often leads to wear-and-tear and related concerns that crop up.

At My Buddy the Plumber, we're happy to provide basic seasonal AC inspections and tune-ups, plus any level of repair or replacement your system may require as we move out of warming season and into cooling season. While an older AC unit isn't the only possible cause of issues you may be noticing, it's a common one -- in this two-part blog series, we'll look at some possible signs that your AC unit may be giving you that it's been used past its lifespan and may require replacement, or at minimum some significant repairs.

Low Refrigerant Levels

One theme that's pretty much never a concern with newer units: Low refrigerant levels. In older units, however, it's not uncommon for the levels to have dropped significantly due to leaks. This can cause all sorts of issues, from your unit being less effective as a whole to strange noises emanating from it.

If you notice any hissing or bubbling coming from your AC unit, that's likely a sign of a refrigerant leak -- and you'll want to shut the unit off immediately, as continuing to run it in this state can cause even more damage. Simply put, your AC unit won't be able to function properly without the right level of refrigerant, so if you notice this issue it's important to call in a professional to take a look.

Unit Ice Buildups

Another issue that's much more common in older AC units: Ice buildup. This is often due to a lack of proper insulation in the unit, and it can manifest itself in all sorts of ways.

One common sign is if your AC is regularly turning off before the room reaches the thermostat temperature you've set. Another sign? A sudden spike in your energy bill, as the unit is working overtime to try and overcome the ice buildup.

If you're seeing any of these signs, it's time to call in a professional for an inspection -- it's possible that the only solution is a full replacement of your unit, but a good technician will be able to give you a much better idea of what needs to be done.

General Wear and Tear

In addition, general wear and tear is to be expected in older AC units. This might manifest itself in a number of ways, such as the unit making strange noises, rattling, or even just not working as well as it used to. If you notice these, speak to one of our technicians about whether the damage might be repairable, or whether you should be looking at simply replacing the system entirely.

For more on the common issues you may notice in an older AC unit this spring or summer, or to learn about any of our HVAC or plumbing services, speak to the pros at My Buddy the Plumber today.

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