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Strange Noises From Your AC—What They Might Mean

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The whir and hum of an air conditioner is part of the soundtrack of any summer. You’re probably used to the typical sounds of your AC: the fan, the compressor kicking in, the occasional dripping of water.

Now, if another sound, one you’re unfamiliar with, interrupts this white noise from your cooling system, it’s often a warning. Even a small, odd noise can indicate you need to call for repairs for your air conditioning in Moorestown, NJ. It’s always better to be safe than sorry—sorry because your AC broke down during the hottest day of the year! Getting ahead of problems with your home cooling system is one of the best ways to enjoy continual, reliable cooling all season long.

But What Do These Sounds Actually Mean?

You may hear a range of unusual sounds from an AC that’s malfunctioning. Here are a few of the commonest and what they may mean. (Please leave the actual diagnosis to the professionals.)

  • Grinding: A sound like grinding gears is probably coming from a motor that’s wearing down or close to burning out. If you detect an acrid odor coming from the vents, then it’s almost certainly a failing motor. Shut down the air conditioner at the circuit breaker and call a professional. In most cases, the whole motor will need to be replaced.
  • Shrieking: This is also likely a motor problem, but it’s an earlier warning—the bearings are wearing down. If the bearings completely wear out, the stress on the motor can lead to failure. If you catch the problem in time, professionals can easily replace the bearings and save the motor.
  • Rattling: Sometimes this is a simple fix: the door of the HVAC cabinet is loose. If the explanation isn’t so basic, there may be a loose component inside or the fan is coming loose.
  • Hissing: A sound like high-pressure gas escaping from a line is probably exactly that—refrigerant gas escaping from the refrigerant line. The loss of refrigerant is one of the most serious problems an AC can face. Not only do the leaks need to be sealed, but the lost refrigerant must be restored. Only a trained HVAC technician has the licensing to handle refrigerant and fix this problem.
  • Clicking: When you hear clicking at the start-up of the compressor, it’s likely coming from failing capacitors. These are electronic components that send voltage to the motors to start them and keep them running. Fortunately, replacing capacitors is a simple job for technicians, so get them on the job right away.
  • General Noise: What if your air conditioner is just operating much louder than before, creating whole slew of different sounds at once that’s creating noise pollution for the house? A generally noisy air conditioner is probably on its last legs and will soon need to be replaced. Call a professional to look over the system and see if repairs will keep it going or if it’s time for a new installation.

Repair your air conditioning system with the best! Gibson Heating & Cooling serves the Greater Cherry Hill, NJ area.

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