A home's central air conditioner doesn't need to stop working altogether to need repair or maintenance. Very often the unit can continue to run even when something is broken and needs servicing, and in some cases, your home might get cool but not quite as cool as it should be. Note when to call for air conditioning services for your home so you ensure your unit is in good repair.

1. If there is a water leak 

Air conditioners create condensation as they work, but this condensation is meant to be trapped in a type of pan under the unit. You should empty this pan regularly, but if you notice that the unit is leaking water all over the outside of your home, you want to call for repairs. This often means that a tube or hose has gotten clogged so that the condensation drips down the side of the unit and doesn't get directed into the pan as it should. If left unchecked, this can cause damage to the unit as the condensation might continue to back up into that hose or tube or cause water damage to your home because of this leak. 

2. If it cools, but not enough

If the air conditioner has never seemed to get your home cool, it may be undersized for your home. However, if this is a new problem, it may be that the compressor has broken down. This is the part that circulates refrigerant so that the air becomes cool before it's blown into your home. They fan of the unit may also be breaking down so that it cannot exert enough force to blow air into your home, or the unit may be low on refrigerant. These are all problems best left to a professional to check and address.

3. Strange noises

An air conditioner might hum as it works but if you hear a loud squealing noise, this can be the bearings in the fan motor breaking down. If these don't get changed, the fan can break down completely. A thumping sound usually means a part has come loose or broken away and is caught somewhere along the fan itself. Grinding sounds may mean the same thing, or that the motor to the fan is broken; it's getting power, but the blades cannot move. Whatever the sound, don't ignore this as rarely will such problems fix themselves but call to have the unit inspected and serviced as needed.