Although this will probably exist someday in the future, we do not yet have air conditioners that can self-diagnose problems and malfunctions to report back to the homeowner. However, AC systems do have other ways of alerting us to trouble. There may be a drop in cooling power or a sudden spike in electrical costs, and maybe even frequently tripping circuit breakers.
One of the best ways to determine that your cooling system needs professional air conditioning repair is to listen for unusual sounds coming from it. Anything different from the hum of the fans and compressors, or the occasional clicking as the system comes on and shuts down, might be telling you of a malfunction. We’d discourage you from trying to investigate these problems on your own, for your safety and to prevent further damage to the system. We’re happy to share with you some of the common warning signs you should keep an ear out for:
A mechanical shrieking noise may indicate a number of motor problems, but it is most likely motor bearings that are wearing down. If those bearings fail, the stress on the motor can permanently damage it. Technicians can replace the bearings in order to prevent this.
Another potential indicator of motor problems, often because of a motor with too much debris or too little lubrication, is a grinding noise. If you smell an acrid odor in addition to this coming from the vents, then it’s likely that a motor is overheating. Shut off the air conditioner and be sure to get in contact with our pros.
This could be a minor problem, like a cabinet door coming loose. However, it could also be a loose component inside your air conditioner, being knocked around in the blower fan, or bent fan blades, or even a cabinet that’s coming loose from its slab. If the rattling noise seems to be coming from your ductwork, there might be sections of your ducts that have come loose.
One of the biggest dangers to an air conditioning system is leaking refrigerant, which can occur due to corrosion on the refrigerant lines. An early sign this is happening is a sound that resembles hissing, as the high-pressure gas escapes from the lines. You want to get this repaired ASAP—our technicians will need to seal the leaks and recharge (refill) the refrigerant to factory levels.
Clicking is sometimes normal—you’ll hear it when your system starts up and cycles down. However, if you hear it too often, then you may be listening to your AC system struggle to power the compressor. This is something that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
This typically means something is loose within your air conditioner, like a fan belt. The best thing you can do in this case is cease use of your air conditioner and call for service so we can check it out.