You Don't Have To Make The Same Mistakes

I always took my home's heating and cooling system for granted. That is until I found myself battling one of the hottest days in years and my air conditioner simply refused to turn on. After contacting my local HVAC contractor, I learned that my cooling coils had frozen over from a lack of maintenance. He did get my AC back up and running that day, but he also helped me to look at my heating and cooling system in a whole new light. I have spent a lot of time over the last few years learning more about how to properly maintain my HVAC system and ultimately lower my energy costs. Today, I would like to share this knowledge with you so that I can help you to avoid some of the costly mistakes I have made in the past.

Three Causes Of Grinding Sounds From Your Air Conditioner

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If you hear a grinding sound when you turn on your air conditioner, this is an indication that there is a problem that requires immediate attention. In many cases, the source of the sound is a simple part that needs replacing, but continued use of your air conditioner before it's fixed could lead to heavier damage. Here are three reasons you might be hearing this sound.

Condenser Issues

Your condenser is typically located just outside your home and looks like a metal box with grilles. This is what you'll most often hear humming outside when you turn on your air conditioner. A few issues can happen inside the condenser that can cause nasty grinding sounds.

  • The condenser motor could be experiencing trouble, which could be anything from the motor bearings to the motor itself. If the motor starts to fail, the moving parts inside could struggle to move or experience extra friction, which will make the grinding sound.
  • The fan blades in the condenser could be hitting something as they move or the blades themselves could have been bent out of alignment, causing them to rub against other parts or the casing of the condenser. These often need to be replaced.

Both issues should be looked at by an airconditioning service immediately before you use your air conditioner again to prevent further damage, though both issues are relatively common and are unlikely to break your bank.

Loose or Damaged Fan Belt

There can be multiple fans in your air conditioning system, and they're typically moved by belts. Because they have to be flexible, they're more susceptible to wearing out and eventually needing replacement. This is also a fairly common issue with air conditioners -- especially older ones -- and it means that the sound you're hearing is the belt itself hitting other parts as it moves. If the fan still works, the belt is likely just loose.

Damaged belts should also be replaced quickly. Not only can a failing belt put more strain on your system because it moves the fan less efficiently, but if it breaks, the force of the breaking belt can damage other parts in your system.

Blower Motor Issues

The blower motor is responsible for actually pushing cold air into your vents and into your home and is separate from your condenser, typically found on roofs or in attics. There are a few issues you can run into here as well.

  • The blower motor bearings could be starting to go bad and causing friction or resistance.
  • There could be damage to the fan blades themselves. The blower fan is different from the condenser fan and looks a lot like a running wheel for mice, where the fan blades are small and rotate within a cylinder. If any of these blades are shifted or broken, they can grind against other parts or even become loose and fall out of the housing.

You can narrow down what type of problem you're experiencing by figuring out where exactly the grinding sound is coming from, and this can give you a better idea what kind of repairs you need. It's important to get these repairs done as soon as possible to avoid more damage to your air conditioning system.

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26 September 2018