What in the World is that Sound?
Air conditioners are not perfectly silent appliances, but they shouldn’t be an audible nuisance. Common noises that are not usually a sign of issue include soft motor whirring while the system is running, the expulsion of air through the air ducts, and clicks when the system is started up or shut down.
If you’re hearing odd sounds that are new, consistent, or loud, there’s a chance that they signal an issue that should be addressed. Sounds such as grinding, loud humming, squealing, banging, thumping, or clanging can be indications that something is wrong. Here we’ll take a look at a few of the common noises that can signal issues and how to cure the clamor of this handy appliance.
Note: With any maintenance of a home appliance, make sure that you first shut off all power to the unit to prevent the chance of electric shock or injury from spinning fan blades while removing debris.
If the outdoor fan is humming, clacking or sounds loose, it may need to be serviced. Watch the fan as the unit is running. Does it wobble and shake? A technician can oftentimes fix this issue by simply tightening screws to stabilize it. Check for debris around the fan that may be getting sucked into the blades during use. Check the blades as well to make sure they are not bent and rubbing up against their encasement.
If you hear the motor constantly humming, it may be going bad. Your trusted air conditioning technician can perform a few tests to tell if the motor is on its way out. A new fan motor can be more energy efficient and improve the transfer of heat from the compressor and coils.
Outdoor coil fins can also become a problem if they are dirty. Check the coil fins and clean out any dirt or debris that has collected. You can pull out leaves and lightly spray down the coils with your gardening hose. Bent coil fins can also cause excessive noise. If you notice the fins of your coil pushed in or flattened, ask your technician if he can straighten them while he’s doing the maintenance. A special fin comb can be inserted between the coil fins and slid through them to straighten the coil back to its original shape. This will improve your a/c’s performance as well!
If you’re hearing rattling, there is a chance that you may simply have an issue with your air conditioner not being stably supported. Concrete can transfer vibration noise into your home. You can add rubber pads under each of the feet of the a/c unit to reduce this noise. Ask your technician about these, he may even have them on his truck!
Old Condenser or Compressor
The compressor is by far the biggest noisemaker in older air conditioning units. After years of working hard the moving parts start to breakdown inside and it may be time for replacement. New units are more efficient and quieter. Some modern mini-split compressors are virtually silent! If your condenser is older, you may be able to purchase a sound blanket from the manufacturer and have it installed it over the compressor to help dampen the noise.
If you cannot find the issue or are having trouble diagnosing the issue with your air conditioning unit, it may be time to call in a professional who can give you expert advice. Bob Jenson Air Conditioning will be able to quickly diagnose the issue and make an expert recommendation on whether to replace or repair parts or the entire unit, if necessary.
For over 45 years, Bob Jenson has been providing quality heating and air services to the San Diego community.
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