Like your home's heating system, your central air conditioning unit isn't immune to malfunctions and problems. Unfortunately, many homeowners dismiss early signs of problems until they become severe and lead to complete air conditioning failure. The good news is that many air conditioning issues can be identified early if you know what to listen for. Here are a few sounds that should tell you your air conditioner is crying out for help.
When Your Air Conditioner Rattles
Rattling noises coming from your central air conditioning unit are a key indication that there's a loose part or component inside that unit. Whether it's the fan or a bearing inside that's rattling, it's an early sign that the part or component is at risk of failure. You'll need to have an air conditioning repair technician inspect the internal components to identify the culprit and replace or repair the part.
If the rattling is coming from somewhere inside your home instead of from the air conditioning unit itself, that can be an indication that one of the air ducts is either loose or damaged. If you ignore it, that can lead to torn air ducts, which are quite costly to replace. Having an air conditioning repair technician identify and address the problem now can ensure that the duct is properly supported, preventing failure.
When Your Air Conditioner Hisses
Subtle or occasional hissing is nothing to worry about in most cases, but if you're hearing loud, persistent hissing from your air conditioning unit, that's a sign that the air conditioner could be leaking refrigerant. This is particularly true if you've noticed that your air conditioner isn't pumping as cold as it used to because the reduced refrigerant levels will lead to a reduction in cooling power.
Refrigerant leaks must be addressed by an air conditioning repair technician. He or she can do a pressure test to confirm the leak, then locate the source and repair it. Once the leak has been repaired, the refrigerant will be recharged.
When Your Air Conditioner Squeals
Some air conditioning units emit a small squeal when they start running, but it shouldn't last more than a couple of seconds. If you're hearing excessively loud, long-lasting squeals from your air conditioner, that could mean that there's a problem with the fan blades or the belt inside the motor. You'll need to have the unit inspected carefully to address the problem; otherwise, you risk a complete unit failure, especially if the belt deteriorates completely.
No matter what the noise is that you're hearing, if it's unusual for your air conditioner, you should reach out to an air conditioning repair technician right away. The sooner you address the problem, the less damage you're likely to have.