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Learn How to Speak “Air Conditioner” & Avoid an A/C Emergency

Learn How to Speak “Air Conditioner”

Did you know that Shipton’s offers a 24/7 emergency air conditioning and heating repair service?

We are literally on call for you, days, nights, weekends, holidays—when we say 24/7, we really mean it!

But why would we do this? Are there really that many clients who would need an emergency repair on a weekend or holiday?

In our experience, over the past 92 years we’ve been serving the Hamilton and surrounding areas, our answer is a resounding YES.

The truth is, we know heating and cooling inside and out, but this is because we have studied it, practised it, and made the HVAC industry our life’s work for three family generations now. So we can spot a brewing A/C or heating emergency a mile away.

But you probably can’t. And why should you, when HVAC is not your area of expertise? We make it our business to know all there is to know about air conditioners and heaters so you don’t have to. And every week, we offer you tips and hints so you can save as much money as possible on emergency repairs and replacements!

In this article, we will focus on the different types of sounds a compromised A/C unit can make, what they mean, and what action to take.

8 A/C Warning Sounds, What They Mean, and What to Do

Do you sometimes feel like your air conditioner is talking to itself? Can you hear it whirring, groaning, creaking, clicking, clanking, and blowing?

These are each warning signs that something isn’t working as well as it could and should. In fact, each sound in itself is an indicator of a different type of problem. You don’t need to know how to fix that particular problem, but it is good to have a general idea of what the sound means

So here is a handy little primer for learning to speak “air conditioning language:”

1. Clanking

If your A/C is making a noise that sounds like one metal part hitting another, this is clanking. Clanking indicates something has come loose. It can also mean something has become unbalanced.

You never want to ignore clanking, since the part won’t tighten or rebalance itself. It is best to have your service technician come out to make what should still be a minor repair before it becomes an A/C emergency.

2. Banging

In weather terminology, the first stage that trouble is brewing is usually called a “watch.” The second, more serious stage, is called a “warning.” After that, the storm is typically upon you.

If clanking is a watch, then banging is a warning. Where with clanking something may be slightly out of whack or loose, with banging you have a renegade part that has significantly unbalanced or detached from the rest of the unit.

Banging sounds can be anything from a broken pin to a detached piston, or can even indicate the compressor is on its last legs.

3. Buzzing

Buzzing may seem like an innocuous enough sound, but no good can come of ignoring it.

Whether it is simply a matter of a dirty unit in desperate need of a good clean or a more serious issue like a refrigerant leak, buzzing can arise from sufficient different issues that always warrant a quick look “under the hood” right away.

4. Clicking

The reason clicking is often overlooked is that many A/C units do make a type of clicking sound when they cycle on and off. But this isn’t the kind of clicking we are talking about.

If you start to hear clicking during a cycle, or in between cycles, or all the time, it could be caused by an issue with the unit’s electronics or with the connection to a power source. This is what makes clicking one of the most dangerous “mystery sounds” an A/C unit can make—if left uninvestigated, a house fire could result.

5. Whistling

Contrary to popular belief, whistling is not a cheery sound… at least when it is coming from your air conditioner. In fact, a whistling sound can be the most urgent SOS call your A/C sends you.

Whistling can mean anything from a refrigerant leak to a blown compressor. Each is dangerous to your health and home and can put a lot of pressure on your wallet if permitted to continue.

So what you want to do is just turn off your air conditioner right away and call your service technician. The same holds true if you hear whistling and then your air conditioner suddenly turns itself off. Don’t try to restart it. Just call your service tech right away.

6. Rattling

Loose parts are the most common cause of rattling noises. Many times, all that is required is for the service tech to get in there and tighten everything up again. If a part is about to break, it may also begin to rattle as a warning sign.

Rattling is great to pay attention to and act on quickly, because prompt service can stave off a major and much more costly repair.

7. Squeaking

When you hear squeaking, think “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Then call your service tech.

Chances are good the squeaking is coming from a blower, fan, motor, or other continually moving part, which indicates prompt repair is required.

8. Humming

Humming is generally a less-serious noise, but occasionally it arises due to an electrical or grounding issue, with can be very serious indeed.

So when you hear humming, it is always best to have it checked out by a pro.

Give Us a Call

Remember, we offer 24/7 emergency repairs: just call our emergency hotline at 905-549-4616!

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