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Warning Sounds of an At-Risk Air Conditioner

loud-noises-womanLate fall-early summer for air conditioning in Farwell, TX is a high-risk period. Air Conditioners have run steadily since the end of spring. Even with a professional tune-up before the start of the hottest weather of summer, an AC can still be in danger of a malfunction after so many months of putting out cooling power.

We recommend our customers stay alert for signs of an air conditioning fault at this time of year. ACs don’t have AI programs to diagnose and report malfunctions, so you will have to rely on conventional warnings, such as odd sounds. Below are some out-of-the-ordinary noises your AC might make that are begging you to call for repairs from our pros.

Buzzing and Humming

When you hear these sounds emanating from the condenser cabinet of the air conditioner as the system starts up, it indicates something called hard starting. This is when the compressor motor struggles to start, much like the motor in a car engine groaning to turn over on a cold morning. Although the air conditioner may end up starting, the amount of strain hard starting puts on the compressor and the energy it wastes (an AC uses 4 to 8 times more electricity during start-up) makes it something you’ll want repaired right away. HVAC technicians can often fix hard starting with the installation of a hard-starting kit to give the motors an extra “kick.”

Rattling and Clanging

Sometimes, a rattling sound is a simple problem—the door to the indoor HVAC cabinet is loose. If this isn’t the trouble, there are other explanations, such as the entire cabinet coming loose or broken parts inside the air handler. Clanging sounds can mean bent fan blades in the blower striking the casing, or loose parts battered around in the air handler. All these problems can cause significant damage if left unrepaired.

Hissing

This is probably leaking refrigerant. The high-pressure refrigerant gas is escaping through tiny holes in the copper refrigerant lines where spots of corrosion have weakened the metal. When the refrigerant level of an air conditioner drops, leading to an “undercharged” AC, it creates numerous problems—the worst of which is a burnt-out compressor. Air conditioners are never supposed to run with a low refrigerant charge, so shut your AC off and call for repairs. Technicians will seal the leaks and recharge the air conditioner.

Grinding and Shrieking

These mechanical sounds are likely coming from problems with the motors. When the bearings of a motor wear down, they create a distinct shrieking sound. When the bearings wear down fully, the motor will suffer damage until it burns out. Repairs can replace the bearings before the situation degenerates that far. A motor in danger of burning out, for whatever reason, will create a grinding noise. In these cases, the motor needs a replacement.

Clicking

You’ll hear this sound at startup if one or more of the capacitors is starting to fail. You can expect this to occur eventually, since capacitors are temporary electronic components. Have experts put in a new capacitor so the motor will continue to start and run.

Mark Carpenter Plumbing serves the Clovis, NM area. Schedule service AC repairs with us today.

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