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What’s the Sound Coming From My Air Conditioner?

tech-with-acWhen it’s time to schedule air conditioning service in Rio Rancho, NM to fix a wonky cooling system, it would be nice if the AC just told you something was wrong. Maybe flash words on the thermostat, “This system is losing refrigerant and must have professional repairs right away.” Or a warning bell that goes off and alerts you to call the local HVAC pros.

One day this technology may appear in homes. At the moment, you’ll have to make do with knowing the less obvious warnings from an AC that it’s time for professional service, such as sounds that are out of the ordinary.

What Are the “Ordinary” Air Conditioning Sounds?

This is a good place to start. Air conditioning systems don’t operate silently, although new technology is reducing how much noise they make. If you use a split system to cool your home (i.e. there is a separate cabinet outside the home), then the noise of the compressor and outside fan won’t bother the interior of your house. You can expect to hear the following sounds on a regular basis from the different parts of the AC:

  • The whirring of the indoor blower fan and the outdoor exhaust fan
  • The lower-pitched whir of the compressor when it comes on
  • Occasional dripping of water falling into the condensate pan
  • Air moving through the ducts

Hearing anything other than these sounds, or these sounds much louder than normal, is telling you something may be wrong.

The Out-of-the-Ordinary Sounds to Listen For

We’ll move on to the some of the specific problem sounds and what they may mean. Please don’t attempt to diagnose what’s causing the sound yourself (unless it’s something simple like a loose door); leave this work to the professionals.

  • Mechanical grinding: A motor in the air conditioner is starting to burn out. Shut down the air conditioner and call for help before the motor fully fails. The motor will need a replacement.
  • Mechanical shrieking: This indicates the bearings in a motor are worn down. If the bearings fail completely, the motor will be at a high danger of burning out. If you get repair experts on the job fast, they can replace the bearings and save the motor.
  • Hissing: A sound like gas escaping from a pipeline is most likely exactly that—refrigerant gas escaping from a leak in the copper refrigerant lines. This puts the whole AC system in danger of failing, and the leak needs to be located and sealed and the lost refrigerant restored.
  • Rattling: There are some different sources for this. A part might have come loose in the blower, or the air handler itself is loose. It could be as simple as an unlatched door on the HVAC cabinet.
  • Clicking: When you hear the AC clicking repeatedly at start-up, there is probably an electrical fault somewhere, such as dying capacitors. Let professionals look into the noise.

Why wait for service when you can get it Express? Santa Fe Express Plumbing & Drain offers AC service to Santa Fe, Espanola, Los Alamos, and Pecos.

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