The hot, humid Florida weather puts a lot of additional strain on your home’s cooling system and often leads to it running for many hours every day. Whenever your AC does get much more use, the wear and tear on the system increases and creates the potential for its components to break down. All of the increased use also means your AC will typically have a shorter lifespan than if you lived in a cooler climate. Knowing when your AC needs to be repaired or replaced can sometimes be tricky, but here are some signs that you should know, so you can remedy problems expeditiously.


Central AC units will typically last between 12 and 15 years. If your home uses a heat pump for cooling, it may only last for up to 10 years since it also runs during the winter to keep your home warm. If you have an AC or a heat pump that is more than 10 years old, it’s probably a good idea to start thinking about replacing it.

Upgrading to a new AC unit or heat pump can greatly improve your comfort as the effectiveness of any HVAC unit tends to decrease quite a bit the older the unit gets. Modern units are also extremely energy efficient, which means that replacing your old unit will almost assuredly lead to a significant reduction in your annual cooling costs. Another thing to consider is that many new AC units and heat pumps will qualify for a federal tax credit. A qualifying central AC unit can get you a tax credit worth up to $500 while qualifying heat pumps are eligible for a tax credit of up to $1,200.

Long Run Times

Your AC system should really only ever run for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. There are a few situations when the system can run for 30 minutes to an hour, such as on extremely hot and humid days or if the system turns on when your home is more than 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the thermostat setting. However, your AC should never run for hours at a time as this indicates that it isn’t cooling effectively for some reason. This can happen simply because the AC air filter is extremely dirty and needs to be replaced, but there are also numerous other issues that can limit your air conditioning’s effectiveness. If you do ever notice that your AC starts running for long periods, it’s a good idea to schedule an inspection as soon as possible. If not, your home may always feel too warm, your energy bills will be higher and your AC may eventually break down and need even more expensive repairs.

Electricity Bill Suddenly Spikes

Your electricity bills will always be higher during the warmer months since AC systems typically use much more energy than anything else in the home. Nonetheless, your energy bills should remain fairly consistent throughout the summer. If you ever notice that your electricity bill suddenly spikes from one month to the next, you can usually be fairly certain that your AC is the cause. An AC that runs for longer than normal or repeatedly cycles on and off in quick succession can both lead to drastically increased energy usage and cause your electricity bill to spike. There are also various other issues that can cause an AC system to draw more power and lead to a drastic increase in your energy bills, and the only way you can be certain why your AC is suddenly using more energy is to have it inspected.

Short Cycling

Short cycling refers to when an AC or any other HVAC unit turns on and then shuts back off within only a few minutes. Short cycling is one of the more serious AC problems. Not only will it typically lead to the system never keeping your home cool, but short cycling will also greatly increase both energy usage and wear and tear on the system. An AC that often short cycles will typically also have a much shorter lifespan and need much more frequent and potentially costly repairs.

Short cycling can occur for a variety of reasons, such as electrical problems or the outdoor unit overheating. An AC or heat pump that is too large for the building will also almost always have issues with short cycling, and in this case, the only solution is to replace it with a properly sized unit. The fact that short cycling can create so many additional problems means that it is an issue you will want to resolve as soon as possible.

Hot Spots and Uneven Cooling

If you have some rooms or areas in the home that seem to always stay warm when your AC is running, you’ll definitely want to have your HVAC system inspected. Uneven cooling typically isn’t caused by an issue with the AC unit or heat pump itself. Instead, this problem is usually related to issues with your home’s ductwork or the HVAC blower fan. Any ductwork or blower fan issues can lead to reduced airflow. This problem will often result in the more centrally located rooms staying sufficiently cool and rooms at the furthest ends of the duct system staying warmer. Uneven cooling and hot spots can also result from thermostat issues, such as if the thermostat isn’t properly calibrated or is in an area that typically stays cooler than the rest of the home.

AC Makes Loud or Unusual Noises

Any loud or unusual noises coming from the outdoor unit or the HVAC blower are almost always a sign that the system needs repairs. Squealing or screeching sounds typically indicate that the bearings or belt on either the blower or the fan motor in the outdoor unit need to be replaced. Hissing, grinding and humming noises are also something to watch out for as these can often indicate a more serious issue, such as a refrigerant leak or a compressor motor that is damaged or starting to wear out.

AC Keeps Freezing

There are a variety of issues that can lead to the AC evaporator coil freezing. A frozen evaporator coil will prevent the AC from providing any cooling whatsoever, and it can also lead to serious damage should the AC continue to run when the system is frozen. Replacing the air filter is sometimes all it takes to stop the system from freezing. If this doesn’t work, you may need to have the blower repaired or the evaporator coil cleaned. A refrigerant leak can also result in the system constantly freezing. The fact that a frozen evaporator coil will both prevent the system from cooling and can cause serious damage means that you should definitely schedule an inspection immediately any time your AC keeps freezing.

If you notice any of these issues or any other problems with your AC, Paradise Home Services is here to help. Our certified technicians specialize in AC repairs and work on all makes and models. We can also help if your old unit needs to be replaced or you need AC maintenance, and our team can also take care of your heating and plumbing needs. Give Paradise Home Services a call today if you need to schedule an AC inspection or any other service in the Navarre, Destin, Panama City Beach or Pensacola areas.

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