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What to do about strange sounds coming from your air conditioning

All air conditioning units are many things, but whisper quiet is not necessarily one of them. While the noise isn’t viewed as a bonus by many business owners, there’s no denying how helpful it can be – strange sounds from your air conditioning are on a par with strange smells, in that they’re not necessarily pleasant, but they’re a useful way to tell if your air conditioner might need cleaning, replacing or servicing. Here at Askews we offer a regular maintenance service that keeps your air conditioning unit running at peak efficiency for as long as possible – but if your air conditioning unit starts making any of these sorts of sounds, it’s worth thinking about calling in an expert!

Flowing water, or hissing

The sound of flowing water might not necessarily indicate a fault with your air conditioning unit. More often than not, it’s simply a sign that the outdoor unit is going into defrost mode. However, if there’s actually water leaking from your unit, or you notice it dripping from any ducts, shut off your system immediately and call in an expert – it could pose a serious electrical risk otherwise.

Similarly, hissing is typically caused by the release of ventilated air, known as a streamer discharge. Once again, this is common and generally nothing to worry about, unless it’s exceptionally loud.

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Buzzing or humming noise

Once again, it’s worth bearing in mind that these can be just sounds of the normal operation of your unit. The buzzing noise in particular can be explained by the flap, and unless it’s particularly loud it shouldn’t be a cause for worry. However, buzzing or humming noises can sometimes be an indicator of wear and tear if they’re exceptionally loud or frequent, so if it’s consistently disturbing you, it could be an indicator that there’s a problem with the compressor, or a loose component somewhere in the mix.

Banging, rattling or clattering

On a similar note, banging, clattering or other sounds of impact are generally a reliable indicator that there’s a loose or broken part somewhere in the air conditioning system, which might be bouncing around or else rubbing against other components. Clanking sounds, meanwhile, may well be signs of an issue with part of the fan.

You’ll have to use your own judgement as to whether it’s a serious sound, though, or something that sounds problematic. It’s helpful to know that pops, bangs and whistles can be produced by the normal expansion and contraction of your metal air ducts, particularly at this time of year where the temperatures can vary slightly. This is especially true of older buildings or listed properties with metal duct work.

Clicking, squealing or screaming

These are generally indicators of some more serious issues, and are often a lot less ambiguous. (A piece of equipment doesn’t ‘scream’ if it’s in tip-top working condition.) Clicking could be a thermostat issue, whereas squealing can be attributed to something going wrong within the duct system. A grinding sound could mean something isn’t right with the fan system, while screaming could mean there’s a refrigeration leak. This last one is especially dangerous, as refrigeration fluid is toxic to human health, so make sure you switch off the system and don’t hang around in calling an expert.

It’s exactly these sorts of issues that our technicians are perfectly equipped to handle here at Askews. With over 25 years of experience behind us, we’re able to offer the full package, including a detailed preventative maintenance programme that will stop many of these issues from developing in the first place. You can click here for a free quote, or just give us a call on 01282 863 825. We’re here to help!

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