If you’re asking yourself that question, chances are that you probably need to give us a call for an air conditioner inspection, and perhaps repair. But we’re happy to elaborate to help you better understand your air conditioner, and what’s going on with it when it makes particular noises.
The thing is, summer is the most likely season for air conditioners to develop problems. While we often use our air conditioners a couple of times in the spring, and in some cases even the fall, it gets its most consistent use in the summer, and therefore is placed under ongoing strain.
This wear and tear makes it more likely for components to break down, particularly in an older air conditioner. Of course, you can help fend off the worst of repair needs with routine maintenance for your air conditioner, so if you haven’t scheduled that yet be sure to do so today!
In the meantime, read on for some common “problem noises” and what they might mean.
If your AC system is making a grinding noise while operating, it’s likely due to an issue with the air handler. The air handler motor contains a number of oiled bearings to help keep friction as low as possible during operation.
Over the years, these bearings wear down and cause friction on the air handler motor to increase. Once this friction is high enough, the air handler motor will begin making a grinding noise. If you hear this, you should call for repairs right away. The bearings need to be replaced before the air handler motor overheats and burns out as a result.
Do you hear something from your air conditioner that resembles the sound of air being let out of a tire? This can be due to air bubbles in the refrigerant line, which means you have a refrigerant leak. The lower the refrigerant level—what we refer to as “charge”—the lower the air conditioner’s output capacity will drop in response.
Eventually, the refrigerant charge will get so low that the AC system will be forced to shut down. Be sure to call for repairs as soon as you notice this noise, or if you see fluid dripping from your system, save for water dripping from the condensate line into the drain.
If your air conditioner is turning itself on and off every couple of minutes instead of going through it’s regular longer cycles that you’re used to, it’s experiencing something we call short-cycling. This can be caused by a number of things, including electrical problems and compressor malfunctions.
Regardless of the cause, what’s more important is the threat it poses to your air conditioner. Short-cycling cuts down on the cooling system’s ability to actually cool the home, but accelerates the rate of which the system wears out.
If short-cycling is allowed to go on for too long, it makes the system prone to breaking down and shortens its lifespan by a number of years. For this reason, you should call for repairs as soon as you notice your system short-cycling.