Your central air conditioner is likely one of the most valuable single assets on your property. During hot summer days, it is certainly one of the most important. So when you start to hear peculiar, loud or unidentifiable noises coming from your AC unit, the discomfort is twofold: “How much is thing going to cost me?” and “How will I cool off this July?!”
Common Causes of Air Conditioner Noise
As technology has advanced, the quietness of air conditioning units has advanced significantly. This has been an important development for consumers and has made those odd noises coming from the AC more noticeable. Here are some of the most common causes of air conditioner noise:
- Loose parts or screws
- Compressor stress
- Unbalanced indoor blower
- Unbalanced condenser fan
- Debris in the outdoor or indoor portion of the unit
- Dirty condenser coil
- Furnace air filter clogged
- Malfunctioning contactor
Diagnosing The Noise
The first thing to determine is WHAT the noise is. A low humming noise may not be an indicator of an ongoing problem, particularly in older AC units. Banging or clanking noises typical means loose parts. Electrical problems, particularly soon after turning on or off, are likely an electrical issue. A rattling while in use may mean your fan is loose. Ticking or increased Revving is often a malfunctioning compressor. The problem with this type of diagnosis, however, is that a sound can mean more than one problem and that the same problem can result in two different types of noises.
When It Is Time To Call An Expert
Ok, so it is difficult to diagnose an air conditioner problem on noise alone. But air conditioner repairs can be expensive, especially if you’re out of warranty. If you aren’t sure, here’s when it is DEFINITELY time to turn off your unit and call an expert technician:
- A refrigerant leak, which is often indicated by a high-pitched whistle or scream noise. More often a leak will cause the system to freeze at the coil first. Left unattended the system will freeze all the way back to the condenser. This is a serious issue and can negatively impact your health due to the chemicals in air conditioner refrigerant.
- A clogged unit, which is typically accompanied by a rattling noise. If you think your outside unit has become clogged with a pollen, leaves, dust or other foreign object, shut the unit down. You may be able to see the obstruction from the outside, but it is safest to have a technician diagnose and correct the unit.
- Lastly, the unit simply doesn't turn on. This is the most dangerous to self diagnose. Majority of the time this is caused by electrical issues or dead electrical components. Conventional ac systems run over 200 volts.
If you are hearing discomforting noises from your AC unit, particularly if they never subside, it is likely time to call the experts at Furnace Solutions. Also, if you want to avoid these types of problems (and annoying noises) schedule your unit for annual checkups and maintenance!