If your air conditioner is not performing at peak efficiency, it can lead to higher monthly utility bills and can cause your unit to wear itself out at an increased rate. You should know some of the most common signs associated with an inefficiently operating air conditioner so that you can talk to an HVAC specialist straight away to address the underlying problem and have repairs conducted to prevent more expensive damage and maintenance in the future.
One of the clearest indications that your air conditioner is suffering from an underlying mechanical issue is if you notice that it turns on and off very frequently, only running for a short period of time. For newer units, this simply means that your air conditioner is too large for the space that it is trying to cool and should be replaced with a smaller unit. For an existing unit that has functioned just fine in the past, the cause is either because of an overheating unit, which can occur if the air filter is clogged and air flow is poor at a result or because of a leak in the refrigerant lines that has caused ice to form on the unit and which prevents heat from being exchanged. If there is a refrigerant leak in your unit, you will notice that only warm air will be coming from your vents.
Another thing that can point to an air conditioner that isn't working as intended is if you can hear odd sounds coming out of your vents while your unit is working. Banging or scraping can point to friction between internal parts of your system, either due to physical damage or because a fastener holding something in place has broken. Avoid turning your system on until a professional has had the chance to inspect it and determine what repairs need to be made, as increased friction can lead to additional damage to other internal parts within your system, which can then be more expensive and complicated to fix.
Finally, the last thing that you should be aware of that can indicate that your air conditioner is not working at its peak efficiency is if you cannot feel much air, if any, coming out of your vents. This can point to one of two things: either your ductwork is clogged and needs to be cleaned out, which will be characterized by a great deal of dust in your vents, or your air conditioner's fan and blower system is not working properly any longer, which may result in an air conditioner that is completely silent when it turns on.
Reach out to local air conditioner services to learn more.