While your home's central air conditioner is running, you may have noticed unusual sounds coming from it. If so, you may want to try to fix it yourself before calling a professional. Below are simple repairs to quiet three noises that could be coming from your AC unit.
Loud Screeching While The Air Conditioner Is Running
When you hear loud screeching while your air conditioner's compressor is running, one cause is a loose fan belt. As the motor rotates the belt to turn the fan, the belt will start to slip and cause friction between it and the metal. If left unchecked, the heat from the slippage could cause the belt to break.
To check to see if the belt is the problem, turn off the air conditioner and remove the access panel. Press down on the center of the belt to check the tension. If you are able to press it down more than a quarter of an inch, the belt will need to be tightened.
Find the center bolt on the fan and loosen it a quarter of a turn. Pull the fan towards you slightly. While doing so, tighten the bolt and check the tension. If the belt has enough tension, replace the access panel and run as usual. If not, the belt may need to be replaced by a professional.
Hissing Sounds Around The Outside Of The Unit
If you hear hissing sounds coming from the outside of the unit, you may have open gaps between the casing and main air ducts. If they are allowed to remain, you will lose a lot of cool air, which will increase your energy bills because the air conditioner will have to work harder to cool your home.
The easiest way to seal small gaps is to cover them with tape. When selecting the type of tape to use, you may think duct tape is what should be used on ducts. However, this is not the case. Although it contains the word "duct" in its name, it does not hold up well under the heat generated by your air conditioner unit.
Instead of using duct tape, seal any gaps using a metallic tape that has a high heat-resistance rating. For gaps wider than a half of an inch, fill in the space with caulk. Let it set for two hours, then apply the tape. The caulk will reinforce the surface to which the tape adheres, reducing the amount of air allowed to leak out.
Rattling Noises From The Inside Of The Unit
While the fan is running, you may notice a loud rattling inside the unit. This could be caused by the fan if it has become loose. If it is not tightened, the bolt could come off, making the fan fly off and damage other parts of the unit's interior.
To tighten the fan's bolt, locate the fan after removing the access panel. Making sure the power is off, manually rotate the fan to see if it wobbles. If so, find the center bolt.
Using a small wrench or pair of pliers, hand tighten the bolt until it feels snug. Try not to over tighten it, because this could strip the bolt. Try spinning the fan again. If it no longer wobbles, run the unit as usual.
If it still wobbles, try tightening the bolt again. If it still rattles while running, you may need an HVAC repair person to fix the problem.
After you make the above fixes, you may still hear strange noises from your unit. If so, you may want to contact an HVAC contractor to have them send out a professional to inspect your air conditioner. They can then discuss your options, ranging from AC repairs to replacing the unit.
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