Ohio is more often associated with snowstorms than heat waves, but if you live here, you know that our summer highs can be just as extreme as our winter lows. During warm summer months, your utility costs will climb if your air conditioning unit doesn't function at full capacity. To prevent inefficient cooling and avoid costly repairs or replacements, it's important to schedule annual tune-ups and detect problems early. However, one of the best indicators of an HVAC problem – the noise your unit makes – is also one of the easiest to overlook.
At Metro Comfort Systems, we have experience with units of all ages, types, and efficiency levels. Air conditioning units usually aren't silent, though, so when they begin to produce unusual or problematic noises, many untrained homeowners don't even notice. Unfortunately, older units are especially noisy, and they're also more likely to develop structural or mechanical problems. We want your unit to last as long as possible, so we've compiled a list of some of the most common AC noises.
Learn more about the following sounds, and what they may mean for your unit's performance. If you listen for these red flags throughout the year, you'll know when to schedule repairs before things get worse.
This is the most common noise associated with faulty air conditioners, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that your unit has a problem. In some cases, rattling indicates loose debris that fell through the vents and is hitting the fans or motors inside. However, over time, this will decrease your unit's efficiency and may even cause a fire hazard, so it's important to look inside and remove loose objects.
Rattling may also indicate loose screws or bolts, which is easy to fix but will get worse without regular tune-ups. However, if your air conditioner continues to rattle after your HVAC contractor removes debris and tightens screws, your compressor could be showing its age. The motor inside your compressor gets louder as problems worsen, so don't ignore this noise.
If your air conditioner screeches when it turns on, you may have a worn-out belt. Belts are responsible for keeping your motors running, and they wear out over time due to heat exposure, age, and other factors. Schedule an inspection or repair service to replace the belt, before it breaks and causes irreparable damage to your motor or other components.
Hissing or whistling
Your ducts and air conditioning unit must be properly sealed in order to work as intended. If you hear a whistling or hissing noise, it means air is passing through spaces that should be airtight. Inspect the cracks and seams of your ductwork, especially where they pass through external walls and into your indoor spaces. Caulking, weather stripping, heat tape or screws may need to be replaced or reinforced.
If there aren't any problems with your ductwork, the hissing is probably coming from the unit itself, and the most likely source is a refrigerant leak. Don’t attempt to diagnose or solve this problem yourself. Only an HVAC contractor is qualified to safely diagnose and solve fluid leaks within your unit.
Your ductwork and air conditioning unit work together to cool your home, so sometimes it's difficult to distinguish between problems that affect one but not the other. If you hear periodic pops inside your heating and cooling ducts, you may just need to inspect your ductwork for damage. The unit itself won't send popping noises into your home.
If your air conditioning system is making any of these noises, or if you want to schedule a tune-up to prevent future problems, contact us at (614) 760-5883. We're always happy to help local home and business owners maximize their energy efficiency, comfort, and budget with our thorough AC repair and maintenance services.