Many households rely on the air conditioner in their home, especially in areas where the weather gets very hot during the warmer months of the year. There are few things worse than having your air conditioner malfunction or fail in the middle of a heatwave. Unfortunately, air conditioners are more likely to fail when they are in use more frequently—such as during a hot time of the year.

In order to prevent your air conditioner from malfunctioning when you need it most, it is important to get your AC tuned up to ensure that it continues to function smoothly even during periods of time when it is used more frequently. So how do you know when your AC needs a tune-up? Keep reading to discover five signs that it is time to maintenance your AC.

1. New Noises

Air conditioners are not silent. It is normal for air conditioners to make a little bit of noise when they are running. However, if you notice any strange new noises that seem to be coming from your air conditioner, that is a red flag that your AC might be malfunctioning.

Common noises that signal a failing air conditioner include grinding, squealing, buzzing, humming, banging, hissing, or whistling. All of these sounds can be symptoms of a malfunctioning air conditioner and should be addressed as quickly as possible.

2. High Electric Bill

Air conditioners use energy to run, which means they affect your electric bill. It is normal for your electric bill to be higher in the summer when you run your air conditioner more frequently than you do during the cooler months of the year.

However, consistent abnormally high electric bills can also signal that there is a problem with your air conditioner. When your air conditioner system has a leak or gets too old and does not function as efficiently, it uses more energy—which in turn increases your electric bills.

3. Weak Air Flow

The airflow that comes out of the air vents in your home should be strong. You should be able to feel cool air blowing at you even if you hold your hand a few feet away from the vent in order for your air conditioner to efficiently circulate cool air around the rooms in your home.

If the airflow that comes out of your air vents when you turn on your air conditioner is weak or if warm air is blowing out of the vents instead of cool air, there is likely a problem with your air conditioner. Weak airflow can be a symptom of problems with your air conditioner’s compressor or ducts.

4. High Humidity

Air conditioners do not only blow out cool air. They also reduce the humidity level inside your home. When the humidity level in your home is high, the air feels warmer than it really is and you likely feel hot and sticky. 

If you notice that it is humid in your home when your air conditioner is running—even if the humidity levels are not extremely high—there might be an issue with your AC that requires repairs.

5. Water Leaks

If you notice moisture around your air conditioner system, that is a sign of a clogged drainpipe or a more serious refrigerant leak from your AC.

Call a professional as soon as you notice any moisture around your air conditioner unit, as refrigerant or water leaks from your air conditioner can cause major damage to your home. In the case that the moisture is caused by a refrigerant leak, the problem is even more urgent because refrigerant is usually toxic.

If your AC is exhibiting any of these five signs, it is probably time to get your AC tuned up by a professional. A professional will be able to provide maintenance for your air conditioner to get it back in working order by doing one or more of the following—inspecting your AC’s electrical components and condenser, cleaning and changing its air filters and drain pan, adding refrigerant if needed, etc. Fortunately, most AC tune-ups are not very expensive and they are definitely worth it if your household relies on your air conditioner.

Also, it is important to note that most air conditioners need to be replaced at least once every ten years. If you have had your air conditioner for ten years or longer, it is probably time to get it replaced instead of paying money to get it maintained or repaired.