Wouldn’t it be great if our home air conditioners could self-diagnose their malfunctions and report them back to us in detail? Honestly, this probably isn’t too far-fetched of an idea … but in the meantime, it’s not a reality.
For now, you have to rely on other means to know if your air conditioner has something wrong with it. Perhaps it’s a sudden decline in cooling power, or an unexplained spike in your utility bills. It may be that your circuit breakers for the HVAC unit are constantly tripping.
And then there’s one of the most common signs something is amiss with your cooling system: loud or unfamiliar noises. Pretty much any sound you hear that you’ve never heard before should be cause for alarm, but below we’ve uncovered six of the most common noises we get called for.
Sound #1: Shrieking
Have you noticed a loud, mechanical shrieking sound coming from your air conditioner? This is likely the sign of a motor issue, or at least the sign of a motor bearing that has worn down. This is actually a normal part of wear and tear, but it still should be remedied quickly.
A worn-down motor bearing will eventually create too much friction for the motor, and will permanently damage it. Our technicians can quickly and accurately replace these bearings to save your motor and prevent further damage.
Sound #2: Grinding
A grinding noise is also potentially indicative of a motor problem. It is usually caused by a motor that has accumulated too much dust or has lost its lubrication. Again, this is part of natural wear and tear, but it’s not something you should ignore.
Sound #3: Rattling
Rattling could actually be a really minor “problem.” It can be the sign of nothing more than a loose cabinet door—something you might be able to repair on your own with a few twists of a screwdriver.
Alternatively, though, it might be that a component has come loose inside the AC system, or that the system has become a bit loose from the concrete slab it sits on.
Sound #4: Hissing
Also described as a gurgling or bubbling noise, hissing is probably the sign of a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant is the fluid that makes the cooling process possible. Without enough of it, your AC system will begin experiencing a number of issues, not excluding a full system failure.
Sound #5: Clicking
Clicking is actually a standard sound for an air conditioner to make—that is, when it starts up and cycles down. However, if you hear clicking the entire time the compressor is running, you may have a problem on your hands.
Sound #6: Clanging
This is maybe one of the most alarming noises you can hear come from your AC system. It can be something like a loose fan belt, which is a fairly easy problem for our technicians to fix. It may be something a bit more serious though, like a bent air handler the fan blades are knocking into.
The moral of the story here is that it’s always worth it to call on a pro if you hear anything unusual coming from your air conditioner.