Normal or Issue? 4 Common Air Conditioning Questions & Answers

May 14, 2020

It’s that time of year where an open window may not keep you and your family quite cool enough. May days in Charlotte typically call for air conditioning (A/C). But what if something seems a bit “off” with your A/C? We compiled some of the most popular questions and issues so you know when to keep calm and carry on or when you should contact a cooling professional.

Why does my A/C leak water?

A/C removes the heat from the air and transfers this heat to the outdoor unit. This process causes the coil to condensate; this condensation is drained out via a PVC pipe. It may be routed into your plumbing system or it can be piped to the exterior of the house. Both ways are normal.

Keep calm, carry on: When this pipe is drained to the exterior of the house, it can sometimes make the yard wet and soggy in that area. This is normal and to be expected.

Contact a pro: If you notice any of the following, it’s a good idea to contact us to check it out.

  • water in the pan below the equipment
  • water on the floor
  • water dripping from the ceiling
  • water dripping from a PVC pipe that is located up high on an exterior wall of your house (that is an optional emergency pipe and normally will leave rust stains on your house)

Will my A/C reduce humidity?

In short, yes; the process of air conditioning removes humidity from the air.

But this is where things get a bit more complicated: air conditioning removes two types of heat from your house: latent and sensible.

  • Latent heat is the type of heat that produces a change in state when it is added to a substance (latent heat is not humidity, but humidity holds latent heat).
  • Sensible heat is energy that produces a change in temperature when added to or taken away from a substance (this is what you see on the thermostat).  

Keep calm, carry on: Charlotte can get quite humid, especially during the summer, so expect some level of humidity when it’s super sticky and moist outside. Expect a normal humidity range to be 45-55% humidity in your house. If there has been lots of rain you may even see 60-65% humidity.

Contact a pro: If your A/C is not removing enough latent heat you may be cool but damp and quite uncomfortable. The Charlotte metro area air conditioning units are designed for 91° outdoor “median temperature.” So, if we have outdoor temps above 91° you may see the temperature drag behind the set point. If it seems to be dragging too much, contact us.  

Why does my A/C smell bad?

This question pops up frequently.

Keep calm, carry on: It shouldn’t smell, but it may have some smell when you first turn the equipment from heat to cool or cool to heat for the first time of the year.

Contact a pro: If the smell continues constantly after that, then you have a more serious issue.

  • The smell may be an indication that your company didn’t clean the evaporator (indoor)coil. At Charlotte Mechanical we clean our Simplified Service Plan (SSP) customers’ evaporator coils once a year with a nice lemon-scented cleaner.
  • Or, you may have heard about “dirty sock syndrome.” This is something that about 1/1,000 customers will actually deal with. No one knows 100% what causes this to happen, but there are lots of theories out there. There are several different steps that can be taken to rid your equipment of this odor. Contact us if you want us to check your unit if this smells familiar to you.

What does it mean if my A/C blows warm air?

Keep calm, carry on: Your A/C may blow warm air for a few seconds if your duct work is in the attic.

Contact a pro: If it lasts longer than a few seconds,you have a major problem. Shut the system off at the thermostat immediately.Then call a professional (like us!).

People far too often are not told to shut off the equipment. If you do not shut off the equipment, there are several issues that t may cause permanent, serious and expensive damage to the equipment. We have seen a $200 part cause an additional$2,000 worth of damage because the equipment was left on.   

Still have questions?

Give us a call,send us a text or shoot us an email. We’re here to help with any of your cooling (A/C) issues 24/7. Our quality of work speaks for itself, and you can always count on us for great pricing.



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