Have the hot temperatures of summer started and you've finally turned on your air conditioner for the season? If so, you may have been surprised to hear an odd noise coming from the unit. While the compressor of an air conditioner can be a bit loud, you definitely do not want to hear the following noises when it is in use.
You should be concerned if you hear a screeching sound when the air conditioner has started running. The screeching might start out as being kind of low, but can progressively get louder as the air conditioner runs longer. The screeching sound is caused by there being an excess of pressure in the refrigerant lines that run into the compressor. When that pressure builds, the refrigerant finds ways to escape the system, which includes finding the smallest places where it can leak out.
You'll want to turn off the air conditioner as soon as you hear a screeching sound. You do not want to run the risk of causing damage to the compressor that could be permanent. Continuing to run the system could result in an expensive repair or premature replacement of the unit.
An HVAC contractor will come to your home to examine the compressor and figure out why that pressure is building up in the unit. If there are leaks in the refrigerant line due to coolant that has escaped, those leaks will need to be repaired before more refrigerant can be put into the system.
A grinding sound is another reason to be concerned because the noise is not going to go away by itself. The grinding often happens right when the compressor turns on and sounds like metal rubbing against metal. This is not good for the moving parts in the compressor, so shut down the system immediately.
A potential reason for grinding is due to the bearings in the motor rubbing against metal, which will cause the part to become damaged quickly if the unit continues to run. You don't want to run the risk of the motor burning out due to you continuing to use the air conditioner in this state.
These are only two potential sounds that your air conditioner may be making that can tell you something is wrong. If you hear another odd noise that you think the unit shouldn't be making, reach out to a local company that handles air conditioning services.