There’s no such thing as a silent air conditioner. We’re going to put that out there right now. While air conditioners today are definitely a lot quieter, especially if you purchase one of the leading brands, and particularly with variable speed AC systems, you’re going to hear some noise.
You’ll likely hear the compressor starting up and shutting down if you’re close enough to the outdoor unit. You’ll hear the blower fan whirring, and you may even detect a gentle rattling of the ductwork as conditioned air goes through it and the temperatures fluctuate.
What you shouldn’t hear, however, are any sounds outside of the normal, day-to-day operation of your cooling system. This can include the following:
This is most often a sign of refrigerant leaving the system.
Here’s the thing about refrigerant–it’s not a fuel like many people think. Homeowners often assume or are told, that refrigerant is something that runs out and has to be refilled–what those of us in the HVAC industry call recharged–every year or so. But your air conditioner is actually supplied with enough refrigerant upon manufacturing to ideally last its entire lifespan.
So what does this mean? It means if refrigerant is leaving your system, you have a leak, and that leak must be located and repaired by our professionals.
Does it sound like something is bouncing around inside your air conditioner? There might be a component that’s come loose, or it could be that a fan belt is breaking off. These are relatively natural parts of wear and tear, especially in an aging system (a system that’s 10-15 years old), but should still be taken care of right away to avoid further damage.
Screeching or Squealing
Do you hear something that resembles metal on metal? Then you probably are hearing metal on metal. What’s likely occurred is that the lubrication on the motor bearings has worn down, and it needs to be lubricated again. You may even need to have motor bearings replaced if they wear down too much.
Like the above-mentioned issue, this is a relatively natural part of wear and tear. But letting it go on for too long without fixing it is inviting your air conditioner to overheat and potentially break down. Be sure to give us a call if you notice this sound!
Maintaining Your Air Conditioner
It’s always a good idea to be aware of the signs of a cooling system in disrepair. This way you can have the problem taken care of right away instead of waiting on it and risking a totally system breakdown and/or necessarily expensive repairs.
But the best way to avoid a surprise problem with your air conditioner is with routine maintenance. Yes, we typically recommend this service for the early spring, before you need the system the most. But frequency and consistency are more important than timing!
By having your air conditioner tuned up by a professional once a year, you’ll be able to stay on top of small repair needs before they turn into big emergencies.