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When most people think of dirt in their air conditioner, they think of their outdoor unit collecting leaves and sticks during storms and changing seasons. However, the truth is that your entire air conditioner system can get dirty, even the inside components. Therefore, it's important to know when to clean your system. Here are six signs that it's time.

1. Inefficient Operation

Your air conditioner depends on a component called the evaporator coil to remove heat and humidity from your home. If this coil becomes caked in dust and dirt, your system will start having trouble heating and cooling your home. If it seems as though your air conditioner is always running just to keep your home marginally comfortable, then hire a professional to clean your evaporator coil.

2. Rattling Noises

Under normal conditions, your air conditioner should operate fairly quietly. If that begins to change, it could mean that your system has become too dirty. For example, if the blower wheel on your air conditioner takes on too much dust, it could cause the wheel to become unbalanced, which will cause a rattling or thumping noise every time you run your system. Since rattling in your air conditioner can have more serious causes than simply too much dirt, it's a good idea to call a technician whenever you notice a rattling sound.

3. Burning Smell

Another potential outcome of a dirty air conditioner is overheating equipment. This is especially a problem if your air filter is too dirty, as it will push your blower motor too hard, causing it to overheat. The solution to this problem is simple: remove your dirty air filter and replace it with a clean one. In many cases, this will cure your air conditioner of its burning smell. If it doesn't, though, you may have an air restriction elsewhere or another problem that requires professional assistance.

4. Lack of Airflow

To get the cooled air to where it's needed, a central air conditioner uses a series of ducts throughout your home. However, if these ducts are clogged by dust and dirt, then that air may never make it to its final destination. Therefore, it's a good idea to check the airflow in each room by placing your hand near the vent. If you notice that certain rooms lack proper airflow, it's a good idea to have a maintenance technician stop by to inspect and clean your home's ducts.

5. Frequent Shutdowns

Another tell-tale sign of a dirty air conditioner originates from the outdoor unit: frequent shutdowns. If your air conditioner shuts down multiple times on a hot day, it could be because the outdoor unit is filled with debris, causing the compressor motor to overheat. When a shutdown occurs, it's a good idea to walk outside to the unit and check for a burning smell. You may also hear the system trying to operate with a distinctive electrical noise, but without the normal fan noise that you usually hear. To avoid equipment failure, it's important to cut power to your outdoor unit until a technician can take a look at it.

6. Dust In the Air

Although dust is always present to some extent in the air in your home, if you notice that the air gets dustier after you run your air conditioner, then it's time for an intervention. Extra dust in the air indicates that some component in the system is so dusty that normal airflow causes it to disperse this dust. With some help from an HVAC pro, you'll be able to discover where this dust is coming from so that the affected components can be properly cleaned.

We'll Keep It Clean

For the professionals at Lightning Services in Metairie, LA, little details, like making sure your air conditioner is clean, matter. You can expect that same attention to detail when we take care of other HVAC needs in your home, including maintenance, repairs, and installation. Or, if you need assistance with your home's electrical system or with a generator, we can take care of that, too. In our 40-plus years of existence, we've worked hard to create a reputation of integrity and professionalism, a reputation that continues to earn us five-star reviews to this day. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at Lightning Services today. We look forward to serving you.
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