I don’t know. Maybe it ate something weird for lunch? All jokes aside, though, air conditioner noises are not something you want to ignore. They often indicate an issue in the system has progressed far enough to start negatively affecting its operation. Now, that may be a minor inconvenience, or it may be a major threat that could cripple the entire air conditioner if you don’t act quickly.
The only way to tell for certain is to contact a professional and have them check it out. We recommend that you do that right away. Now, while you’re waiting for your technician to arrive, here are a few common noises that your air conditioner might be making that indicate a problem.
If your AC is making a grinding sound, then the issue is likely located in your air handler motor. The air handler is the part of the system that circulates air throughout the home while the system is operating. The air handler motor works pretty hard while the system is on, so it uses oiled bearings to keep friction low. The problem is that eventually, these bearings wear out, which means that they need to be replaced. A grinding sound means that the bearings aren’t doing their job anymore, and the friction on the air handler motor is increasing past what it can handle. You’ll need to have the bearings replaced soon, before the motor overheats and burns out.
No, you don’t have snakes in your air conditioner. Well, actually, you might. We could tell you some stories… Anyway, what’s far more likely is that you have a leak in your refrigerant line. Air bubbles forming in the line are what’s causing that noise. This is a problem because the air conditioner relies on the same level of refrigerant its entire life. The more the refrigerant level in the system drops, the less able the air conditioner will be to cool your home. If the level is allowed to drop low enough, the entire system will break down. For this reason, you should call for repairs as soon as you hear this noise.
Short cycling is when your air conditioner shuts down shortly after starting up, instead of completing a full cooling cycle. This is often caused by an electrical issue, although there are certainly other things that could lead to the system short cycling. Regardless of the cause, what you need to worry about are the effects. Short cycling prevents the air conditioner from cooling properly, but it also increases the wear and tear on the system. The longer the air conditioner short cycles, the more likely it will be to break down due to other issues in the future. Make sure you call for repairs if you notice this sign.