Home appliances provide constant background noise to your daily activities. The air conditioner kicks on with a quiet whir, the dishwasher churns as it cycles through suds, the coffee maker hums and pops, and the refrigerator quietly buzzes to itself while it cools. You're probably so used to these sounds that you don't notice them anymore - until a strange cough or splutter from a trusty appliance stops you cold. 

Sometimes, old appliances creak and groan but continue to do their work. Other times, an odd noise might signal that a major repair is on its way unless you act quickly. Below, we'll help you decipher some troubling noises your air conditioner might make this fall, including what those noises 
could signify and what you should do once you hear them. 

1. Rattling, Clanging or Banging

Your air conditioner might shudder a bit as it turns on, but it should settle into a constant quiet rhythm as it hits its stride. Any noise sharper than a shudder - specifically a rattling, clanging or banging noise that persists as the air conditioner stays on - probably indicates a broken, loosening part. 

If you hear a rattling noise when you turn the unit on, a screw or larger part inside the blower or motor is in the process of coming loose. You should turn the unit off and schedule a repair before the part succeeds in coming loose entirely. If parts of the blower motor have already shaken loose, you'll hear a louder clanging or banging sound. Turn the air conditioner off to prevent further damage to the unit. You might also hear a rattle or bang if your motor mount or blower is misaligned. Get in touch with an HVAC professional who can realign the parts and stop the obnoxious rattling. 

2. Screeching, Creaking or Squealing

If you hear a mechanical squeal when your air conditioner kicks on, one or more of the moving parts in your air conditioner isn't turning correctly. It's also possible that your motor just needs more oil; if so, you can lubricate the motor yourself, though you should always make sure to turn off power to an appliance before you work on it. 
Alternatively, call an HVAC technician who can safely access and lubricate the motor while ensuring that all the moving parts work correctly. 

Your technician can also let you know if simple lubrication is all your motor needs or if the motor has broken down and requires total replacement. 
A screech, creak or squeal could also indicate a problem with the belts. Luckily, belts are fairly cheap to repair and replace. If the screech or squeal escalates to a thwap or thud, one of the belts has already come loose and should be replaced. 

3. Screaming, Shrieking or High-Pitched Whistling 

It might sound overly dramatic to describe a failing air conditioner as screaming, but if your unit starts to make this noise, you'll identify it immediately - and so will your neighbors. 

A shriek is a serious cause for alarm. It likely indicates that your compressor has started to fail, and the screaming is caused by pressure building inside the unit. A high-pitched whistle or shriek could also indicate that your refrigerant is leaking, which is a similarly dangerous problem. 

Hopefully, as soon as the screaming starts, the air conditioner's internal safety regulators should switch the unit off for you. If the air conditioner doesn't shut off automatically, turn it off immediately yourself. After the unit is off, call a repair technician for immediate repair - the sooner the better.

Hear a Strange Sound? Get in Touch

If you hear one of the odd sounds listed above - or any other strange, annoying sound issuing from your air conditioner - don't wait to schedule diagnosis and repair. Instead, get in touch with an expert at Air Time Heating & Cooling. We offer 24/7 service and are here to help you get your air conditioner back to normal as soon as possible.