Did you know that summertime is the most likely season for your AC system to call it quits, or at least experience problems? It makes sense when you think about it—it’s getting much heavier use than it does in spring or fall. And all mechanical systems experience wear and tear.
The good news is, you can typically avoid surprise repairs or sudden AC breakdowns, with routine professional maintenance. This gives our technicians an opportunity to uncover any signs of malfunction or repair needs. It also gives us the chance to comprehensively clean out the system to ensure it’s functioning as it should.
Even if you are diligent about maintenance, however, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the sounds you should, and should not, be hearing come from your air conditioning system. The following noises, in fact? They indicate something is very wrong inside your cooling system.
When You Hear Grinding
Is your cooling system making a loud grinding noise as it runs? It could be due to a problem with the air handler. The motor of the air handler has oiled bearings in place to keep friction as low as possible during system operation. These bearings wear down over time, however, which causes excessive friction on the air handler motor.
Once this friction gets bad enough, the motor starts making grinding noises. If you do, in fact, detect this noise, then you should call for repairs right away. The bearings have to be replaced before the air handler motor overheats and burns out.
When You Detect Hissing
The good news is, there is probably not a snake in your air conditioner. When we say hissing, we mean a noise that resembles air being let out of a tire, as an example. The culprit of this noise is likely air bubbles in the refrigerant line that indicate a refrigerant leak. The lower the refrigerant charge—that is, refrigerant level—in your AC system drops, the lower the cooling output will drop as well.
Eventually, when the refrigerant charge gets too low, the AC system is forced to shut down. Be sure to call for repairs as soon as you hear this noise, or if you notice fluid dripping from any part of the air conditioner—this is never a good sign, no matter what the cause is!
When Your System Is Short-Cycling
If you’ve been following our blog at all, you’ve probably seen us mention short-cycling before. It describes the process of an air conditioner or forced air heater goes through when it shuts off and on rapidly, rather than in longer, regular intervals throughout the day. The problem with this is that it wears down on the system, and the desired temperature on the thermostat is never actually reached.
There are a number of causes for short-cycling, ranging from improper installation right from the start to a clogged air filter blocking airflow, or a more sinister problem deeper in the system. The most important thing to do if you hear your system short-cycling is give our pros a call.