When summer is coming on, it can be surprising how quickly we adjust the thermostat from giving us a little heat in the morning to take the chill off the house to switching on the air conditioning to combat the afternoon heat. Even if the furnace or heat pump has been working well throughout the winter, if you start hearing one of these six bad AC sounds, you may have a problem and need to contact an HVAC professional before it turns into an even larger repair bill.
Sounds That Are Cause For Concern
- Scraping Sounds: A loud scraping noise, a grating metal-on-metal sound, coming from inside your furnace could be a serious problem with the blower wheel. Maybe the wheel is coming apart from the shaft and scraping the casing or in some other way the motor is causing the wheel to scrape the casing. Turn off the air conditioning and/or furnace immediately and call an HVAC service company.
- Fast Clicking/Flicking AC Sounds: Remember that sound when you were a kid and attached a playing card to the spokes of your bicycle wheel? If you hear that kind of fast tapping sound from your furnace, something might be stuck on one of the blower wheel blades or on the housing around the wheel. While your air conditioning (or heat) may be working just fine, this stuck object is causing resistance and it will cause excessive wear on the motor. Get it cleaned up by a qualified furnace technician.
- Squealing Sounds: A squealing noise from the blower motor could be caused by a belt wearing out. That’s normally not an expensive repair and best-taken care of before the belt stretches further or breaks.
- Grinding Or Metal Groaning Sounds: A bearing problem in the blower motor will make a dull repetitive groan. Some blower motors have ports for adding lubricant, but some are sealed. Adding lubricant will often eliminate the groaning sound. You need to use the correct oil though, not WD-40. An HVAC company doing an annual maintenance inspection on your furnace would like to do this kind of lubrication.
- Rattling AC Sounds: If you hear a rattling sound from your central air conditioning unit outside of the house when the air conditioning is coming on, the hardware around the compressor or condenser fan motor could be loose. An air conditioning service repair person should be contacted.
- Popping Sound Or Banging AC Sounds: If you turn on the furnace for heat and you hear popping sounds or a distinct banging sound (like from a cap gun), the furnace probably has dirty burners that need to be cleaned. The gas is not being ignited right away. Instead, it’s building up and then igniting in a mini-explosion. You’ll want to get this serviced by a professional immediately.
When operating properly, your HVAC system should be fairly quiet. If you’re hearing one of these seven sounds you really should contact an HVAC professional to come in and repair the problem before it turns into an even bigger problem.
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