While other parts of the country are cooling off and homeowners are preparing their heaters for the long winter ahead, those of us here in Gulf Breeze are still using our air conditioners on a pretty regular basis. That being said, our AC systems go through a lot, accumulating wear and tear faster than AC systems in other parts of the country, and potentially requiring more repairs.
First off, to avoid the biggest and most sudden of repair needs, we urge you to schedule maintenance at least once a year for your air conditioner. During this service, our professionals will fully inspect, clean, and adjust your system to ensure its efficient performance. But with or without maintenance, if your cooling system is making noises you don’t recognize, it’s time to call in a pro. What noises should you pay particular attention to?
Hissing or Gurgling
Some have described it as hissing, others as bubbling or gurgling. Pretty much, any noise that sounds something like the last few bubbles of soda being sucked through a straw, is bad. This indicates that air bubbles are somewhere in your system where they shouldn’t be. They are probably in the refrigerant line, which means there is a leak.
Refrigerant leaks are a bigger deal than you may realize, because they deprive your air conditioner of the fluid it needs to cool your home. As the refrigerant level in the cooling system drops, so too does its ability to cool your home. Eventually, the refrigerant level drops low enough that the AC system can’t sustain operation, and will break down. Be sure to call for repairs as soon as possible if you hear this noise coming from your system.
The air handler is the component of your air conditioner responsible for circulating air throughout your home while the system is in operation. The air handler motor is put under a lot of strain while the system is working, so to help it cope, the system has a number of oiled bearings.
Eventually, though, these bearing wear down and the friction on the air handler motor will increase. This can cause the motor to emit a grinding noise while the system is running. If you hear this sound, it’s time to call for repairs. The bearings will need to be replaced before your cooling system overheats and burns out.
Short-cycling is when the AC system turns itself on and off every few minutes rather than completing a full cooling cycle. It’s usually the result of an electrical problem in the system. Short cycling prevents the air conditioning system from providing sufficient cooling, and also accelerates the rate at which the system wears down.
If the short-cycling goes on for too long, your air conditioner will be more and more likely to break down in other ways, shortening its lifespan. If you hear your system rapidly turning on and off, be sure to give us a call.