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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Weaver

Navigating Air Conditioning Concerns: A Homeowner's Guide

Air conditioners can be temperamental in the heat of summer, displaying a variety of sounds, behaviors, and curiosities. We receive many calls throughout the summer from panicked homeowners wondering why their units are suddenly acting so strange. Some of these are definitely cause for concern, but some are perfectly normal during the hottest months of the year. We'll even include some small things you can try to resolve the issue yourself before having to shell out a service charge to your local technician.

1. Whooshing or Intermittent Whirring Noises

Air conditioners have what is called "defrost mode" and it is part of their normal cycle. During this time, the air conditioner will not kick on as it is trying to thaw any ice or drain condensation build up on the unit. This part of the cycle should only last about 5 minutes, so if the weird whooshing noises continue for longer than that and the unit is failing to cool your home to the thermostat set temperature, you may have a larger issue. Otherwise, wait it out, and everything should return to normal shortly.

2. Air Conditioner is Not Running / Not Cooling the Home

We typically recommend checking your thermostat settings first. Make sure the thermostat is set to cool, and look at where the temperature is set to. Note the difference between the set temperature and the indoor temperature- if it is more than 3 degrees, and you're set to cool, you have some cause for concern.

Check your filter first to make sure it is clean and clear of any dusty film. Filters should be changed every 1 to 3 months, and you can read more about our recommendations for what kind to use and where to find them here.

If you're set to cool, have a clean filter, and the thermostat is still reading a difference of 3 degrees or more, call a service technician to make sure your air conditioner is running properly.

3. Air Conditioner is Producing Hot Air

We recommend a similar procedure as before: Check to make sure your thermostat is set to "Cool", check your filter to make sure it is clean, and check the difference between your set and actual temperatures. If you have a new filter, the thermostat is set to cool, and you're still having issues with the temperature difference, you likely have a greater issue and should call a local HVAC contractor to troubleshoot the air conditioning issue.

4. Air Conditioner is Shaking or Rattling Continuously

If your air conditioner is suddenly starting to shake or rattle, it may be settling unevenly. You can call an air conditioning service technician for this issue, or you can try to remedy the problem on your own. Most ground units are easy- use a level and some stone or mulch to lift one side of the mounting platform until it is level. Concrete pads or raised mounting brackets are more tricky, and we recommend calling in professionals for those. If leveling the condenser yourself has not remedied the issue, it's time to call a service technician. Fans and motors can cause shaking and/or rattling in the unit, so they may need replaced. The good news is, if you go with a reputable brand of air conditioner they generally have pretty great warranties for anything younger than 10 years old. Most HVAC contractors will gladly help you take care of the paperwork for this as long as the unit was registered and qualifies for a warranty.

5. Air Conditioning Maintenance

Air conditioning maintenance is the best way to avoid surprises and keep your air conditioner in good shape. Units that are well-maintained will last significantly longer than those that go without. In our experience, we expect units to last 6-10+ years longer with proper annual maintenance.

Finally, any concern you may have in regards to your air conditioner that was not listed does not automatically mean you should panic. Our technicians are happy to help you with any concern, and will gladly answer questions you may have over the phone where possible. If you aren't sure whether or not something is truly cause for concern, we're always a phone call away and here to set your mind at ease.

At Greene's Plumbing, Heating, and Electrical in Tiffin, Ohio, we care about your comfort, and we care about YOU!

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