As with most mechanical systems around the home, an air conditioner can continue to run even when it needs maintenance or minor repairs. However, by continuing to use the system, it is more likely that the damage will become more extensive and the repairs will be a lot more expensive.
By recognizing important signs not to overlook it is easier to avoid this problem. Calling an AC repair company when you see or hear these issues will save you money and also help you to determine if repairing or replacing is the best option.
Rattles and Bangs
If anything sounds as if it is loose or moving around inside the unit when it cycles on or off could potentially be a problem. It may be something as simple as a belt issue on an older unit, or it may be a fan mount or other type of mount that has broken or is no longer holding the component in the correct position.
It is important to call for immediate AC repair after shutting the system off completely. This will prevent it from cycling until it can be fixed.
Screeches and Screams
On startup, if the system seems to screech or to have high pitched screaming sound that will stay on during the on cycle, it may be a compressor, or it may be the bearings in the fan motor.
Both are serious conditions. In most cases the fan motor will need to be replaced and, if it is the compressor, this will typically also need to be replaced. The compressor issue is more likely to occur when the system is starting up. In some cases, the system may not start up with this issue.
Hot or Cold
It is possible for the refrigerant to leak, resulting in a situation where the compressor lines, specifically the copper lines, will feel very warm to the touch. At the same time, the unit will no longer provide cooling to the home. This same problem can also cause ice on the lines if there is not enough air supply or lack of coolant.
It is also common to notice the system constantly cycling on and off while not sustaining the desired temperature. This can result from several possible problems, but your AC repair professional can provide the specifics for your unit.