If yours is like most households, you rely on your air conditioning system to provide your family with a cool and comfortable environment during the summer. While your air conditioning system usually runs great, it will experience problems from time to time. If you notice that your air conditioner starts to squeak when it runs, the sound could be due to a few different causes.

Closely Examine the Noise

In order to successfully determine the actual culprit behind your squealing sound, it’s imperative that you pay attention to two main factors. First, you want to ascertain whether it’s more prominent inside your home or at the outdoor compressor unit. Second, you’ll want to evaluate whether the noise is consistent, it only happens at startup, or it’s intermittent. By paying close attention to these initial factors, you can start to zero in on the actual cause of the squealing.

Fan Belt Issue

The first area that you want to look at is the belt that connects the blower motor to the fan. Just like other flexible belts, it can expand and contract with varying temperatures and humidity levels. Over time, it can start to become brittle and overly stretched. When you assess the belt, you should be able to see if it’s not physically aligned on the pulley or if it has a lot of cracks and strands on it.

Condenser Fan Bearings

If you have a newer air conditioning system, it’s likely that you don’t have a fan belt. Rather, the condenser fan is actually attached via bearings. When these bearings start to loosen up and go out, you’ll start to hear loud squealing. This squealing will only happen when the air conditioning system is running. It’s imperative that you get the bearings looked at as soon as possible. If the problem is left unresolved, these bearings can completely go out and damage your blower motor.

Bent Fan Blade

There’s a fan located in the outdoor compressor unit of your air conditioning system. Whenever any obstructions like twigs fall into your fan’s housing, your fan blades will hit them. This can create a squealing noise as the fan blade hits the object over and over again.

What’s worse, the impact between the fan blade and the object can cause a fan blade to become bent. As a fan blade spins around, it can start rubbing against the housing and create a squealing noise in that way as well. It’s a good idea to go ahead and turn your system off and remove the cover. Take a look at the fan to see if there’s any debris inside of it, and make sure that you visually inspect each blade to see if it’s bent or damaged in any fashion.

Compressor Motor Malfunction

The motor inside your compressor unit can also be to blame for a constant squealing noise. This could be due to something as simple as a lack of lubrication causing parts to rub up against each other, or it can be an early warning sign that your air compressor motor is getting ready to die. A simple DIY approach for determining whether it’s a lubrication issue is to add a motor lubricant spray to the compressor motor to see if it quiets down the noise.

Air Handler Issue

If you distinctly note that the squealing noise continues for a few moments after your outdoor compressor unit shuts off, then it’s a big indication that the problem lies inside your house. The most common place for this problem is at the air handler. The blower motor could be malfunctioning or dirty. It could also have a loose bearing or even a bent fan blade.

High Pressure Buildup in the Compressor

If you noticed that the squealing noise only seems to last for about 10 or 15 minutes after your unit starts up, it could be a problem with your compressor unit. When there is a high amount of pressure buildup in the compressor unit, you’ll be able to hear the squealing noise outside. In this type of situation, it can be dangerous to continue to run your air conditioning system. It’s highly recommended that you turn it off and contact an HVAC professional to evaluate the problem.

Hometown AC Services

Lyerla Heating & Air provides hometown AC services for the whole Joplin, MO region. That includes repair, installation, and maintenance. Our technicians can also help with all of your heating, indoor air quality, ductless, geothermal, commercial, and industrial needs. Contact us today to get the expert assistance that you deserve!


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