Your home's air conditioning system can last for well over a decade, but that doesn't mean that nothing will change over that period. Like any mechanical system, parts will suffer from wear and tear, impacting their overall performance and efficiency. A well-maintained residential AC may last even longer than this, but that means more years of wear on parts such as the compressor or blower motor.
One typical symptom as these mechanical parts age is increased noise and vibration. The changes might be subtle, with your system growing a little louder each year, but there's often a noticeable difference in noise between a brand-new air conditioning unit and one that's well over ten years old. If you have an older system, you might be wondering if there's a way to quiet it down without a total replacement.
Why Do AC Systems Make Noise?
Your air conditioner has a handful of mechanical parts that can make noise, primarily located on your outdoor condenser unit. These components include your compressor, condenser fan, and contactor switch. Although the contactor is an electronic part, it's essentially a switch that physically snaps down to make contact (hence the name) and complete a circuit.
Compressors will often become louder as the yage. Unfortunately, repairing this problem usually involves installing a new compressor. Manufacturers don't design these units for easy repair, and opening them is rarely wise since they must remain sealed against contamination. If the compressor is still functioning correctly, simply living with the noise may be worthwhile.
On the other hand, problems with other noise components are often easily repairable. Condenser fans may make noise due to alignment problems, trapped debris, or issues with the fan motor. Depending on the underlying cause of the problem, you may be able to fix the noise by replacing the fan blades or motor.
Electrical noises, typically sounding like a buzzing or snapping, usually originate with the contactor. This part can wear from exposure to high voltage, damaging the plates that complete the circuit. Although the contactor may still function (for now), a consistent buzzing usually indicates an issue preventing a solid connection.
Is It Worth Repairing Your Noisy AC?
Whether or not it's worthwhile to repair a noisy air conditioning system depends on the age of your AC, your budget, and the underlying problem. However, it's never a good idea to ignore unusual noises. If your air conditioner seems louder than usual or it's making a new noise, calling in a professional for diagnosis is often the best course of action.
While you don't have to immediately repair a problem that's not affecting your system's efficiency or functionality, it's critical to know why your AC may be making noise. In some cases, those noises can be an early warning sign of failure, and a quick diagnosis can help you avoid a much more expensive problem. For more assistance, contact HVAC repair services.