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HVAC Health 101: 4 Sounds That Indicate A Problem

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Air conditioners are typically fairly quiet. However, over time they may begin to get noisy. If your air conditioner is suddenly very loud, you might have a problem on your hands. Some air conditioner noises can be indicative of serious issues that might cause your air conditioner to fail—or at the very least stop working properly. So how do you know which noises are cause for concern?

Here are four worrisome air conditioner sounds to keep an ear out for:

1. High Pitched Screams

A high pitch screaming noise that comes from your air conditioner is particularly worrisome. You might notice this sound whenever you turn your air conditioner on or off; and it is usually caused by the compressor. When the compressor gets too hot, air pressure begins to build up inside the unit, which causes the noise. As you can imagine, high pressure inside the unit is dangerous so it is best to have this addressed by an air conditioner repairman immediately.

2. Rattling or Knocking

Another sound that can be indicative of a serious problem is a rattling or knocking noise. This sound can be caused by various things, but it is usually one of two problems: a loose fan or an obstruction. If you hear this noise, turn the machine off and have a look inside. If there is an obstruction, remove it. If that doesn't work, you may need to tighten the fan back into place.

3. Squealing or Humming

A loud squealing or humming noise in your unit may be caused by a worn belt. Over time, the fan belt in your unit may become too worn or come loose. When this occurs, the unit will usually make a squealing or humming noise that is fairly constant. While you don't need to fix this problem immediately, it does require attention. If you continue to run the unit without fixing the belt, the belt may break entirely—and that will leave you with an air conditioner that won't work.

4. Gurgling

Another sound you might notice coming from your air condition is a gurgling noise. This sound is usually caused by condensation within the machine; however, it may also be caused by a refrigerant leak. While it isn't dangerous to run the machine while it is making this noise, you should have it looked at by a professional. The fix is usually fairly simple and will involve either fixing the water trap or mending the leak.

As you can see, you can learn a lot about your air conditioner just by listening to it. If your unit is making any of these noises, contact a business, such as D & W Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. for help with your system.   


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