5 Common AC Noises and What They Mean

Nothing is worse than hearing a terrible noise from your air conditioner and having no idea what it means. Will it go away on its own? Should you turn off the unit and call for an emergency service? Is it something you can fix yourself?

Here are the most common air conditioner noises, what they mean, and what you should do next. When in doubt, always call an HVAC contractor. A loud and unfamiliar noise coming from your AC unit is never a good thing.

1. Screaming/Hissing

If you hear a loud, high-pitched hiss or scream coming from your air conditioner, you should shut off the unit immediately. A common culprit is a refrigerant leak or problem with the compressor. This should not be ignored as refrigerant can me harmful to your health and seriously damage your unit. If the leak is large enough, you may hear a gurgling noise as well.

2. Squealing

Just like cars, your air conditioner can make a squealing noise when the fan belt is damaged or misaligned. This does not inhibit the unit from cooling your home so you can keep your unit running if you hear this noise, but we recommend calling for a repair as soon as possible. This problem could lead to a domino effect of other repairs, so don’t wait!

3. Buzzing

A buzzing or humming noise could mean an issue with the compressor, electrical wiring, refrigerant line, or a loose part. Because the problem is not obvious, it is always best to call an HVAC contractor to take a look. Especially if it sounds less like a rattle and more like a buzz, it could be a very serious problem.

4. Clicking

It is normal to hear clicking when the AC unit starts, but if the clicking continues after startup, start by cleaning the outdoor AC compressor. There might be debris making this clicking or rattling noise. A clicking noise can also indicate a bent fan blade or an electrical issue, so if you do not feel comfortable fixing it yourself, call an HVAC technician.

5. Banging

A banging noise is usually a sure sign of a loose or broken part, oftentimes being the compressor, fan, connecting rod, piston pin or crankshaft. Sometimes the part simply needs to be tightened, other times the part will need to be replaced. We recommend calling an HVAC contractor to inspect the unit as a loose part banging around could be causing more damage.

 

If you are near us in Aurora or live anywhere in the Denver Metro Area, Grand Home Services would be happy to answer your questions or help you with your AC unit. Call 720-365-1187 or contact us online today!

8 Common HVAC Repair Scams

When your air conditioner or furnace stops functioning and needs repair, you put your full trust in a local HVAC contractor to fix the problem efficiently and honestly. Unfortunately there are some technicians that do not operate their business in the most ethical way.

Below are 8 of the most common HVAC repair scams that you should look out for. Click here to see the best ways you can avoid these scams.

1. Bait and switch

Dishonest HVAC companies will generate more business by making amazing offers that are hard to refuse. Once they are in the door, they will take advantage of this time to sell you on other services, or mislead you on the condition of your unit to sell you more than you expected. Whether it be a cold call offering a service you “need” or a technician offering a service that’s “free”, be weary there is a catch.

If you get a quote from an HVAC contractor that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always get a second opinion if you think the technician is scamming you.

2. Refrigerant recharge and overpayment

If your unit is short on refrigerant, it means there is a leak. Refrigerant runs through a closed system and should never run low. The “recharging” scam is a dishonest technician’s way of unnecessarily billing you for refrigerant you shouldn’t even need. The leak is the source of your problem, and your technician should tailor their service accordingly. If the technician only tops off the refrigerant, they are putting off the repair that really needs to happen and thus you will be paying for the refrigerant more than once. They will likely call you again to offer another recharge because they know you will need it.

Another popular air conditioner scam is charging for more refrigerant than you received. If you think you are being scammed, try to supervise the process. The technician should be charging you by weight, measuring the difference in the refrigerant container before and after they filled your unit.

3. R-22 is illegal

This is a very recent scam and a hard one to decipher. Some contractors are telling customers that R-22 is illegal because it is being phased out and cannot be used anymore, and this is not true. As of January 1, 2020, it is no longer legal to produce or import virgin R-22 in the United States. That does not mean R-22 refrigerant is unavailable, more expensive, or illegal. It just means systems that use R-22 will have to rely on existing stocks of virgin refrigerant or use reclaimed refrigerant, both of which are readily available.

4. Cracked heat exchanger

Furnace heat exchangers do eventually crack if not properly maintained or installed, but this also happens to be a popular furnace repair scam. If a technician says your heat exchanger is cracked and you need to get it replaced immediately, you may want to get a second opinion or ask for proof. This repair is quite expensive and you should not give the green light without seeing the crack yourself. Also ask if your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide. A reliable HVAC technician will have combustion analyzers and ambient carbon monoxide meters with them.

5. Replacing parts unnecessarily

A service technician may tell you a part needs to be repaired or replaced when it is perfectly fine. If this is the case, chances are the part is very expensive and the cost of replacing the entire system is not far off from the repair cost. This includes a contractor saying you need to replace equipment just because it is old!

A big red flag is when a technician suggests you need to replace several parts. This is very rarely the case. In the vast majority of air conditioner and furnace failures, one defective part compromises the integrity of the whole unit. Though it is rare, you will see several parts fail if the unit is poorly maintained or the initial repair needed to happen a long time ago. Always get a second opinion!

6. Oversized unit

Bigger is not always better when it comes to air conditioners and furnaces. There are contractors who will push the biggest unit they have with no regard for the type of unit or size of your house/building. Units that are oversized are more expensive to install so the contractor can charge more for the job. They are also more expensive to run in the long term and will cost more in service and maintenance.

7. No price breakdown

A common scam we see here in Aurora, Colorado is contractors not giving a cost breakdown and saying the repair is very expensive, sometimes so expensive that the unit should be replaced. You should always confirm what is wrong with the unit, what needs to be replaced or repaired, and ask for the price breakdown (service fees included). An honest HVAC technician should be able to give you those numbers without question. If something does not seem right, do a little research and ask for a second opinion.

8. Upfront cash payment

No reputable HVAC company asks for payment before providing you with any services. If a repairman asks for payment up front, he or she might try to take your money and run. There is no reason for air conditioning or furnace repair companies to employ this policy unless they are hoping to get away with something.

 

Grand Home Services in Aurora has been helping homeowners and property managers throughout the Denver Metro Area for over a decade. We know an HVAC scam when we see one and we would be happy to give you a second opinion if you have any suspicions. Contact us today for all your Aurora furnace and air conditioner repair, maintenance, inspection, and installation needs!

What Causes an Air Conditioner to Freeze Up?

It almost seems counter-intuitive that an air conditioner could freeze over, especially when your air conditioner is running during hot summer days. Air conditioner freeze-ups are actually quite common and there are a number of possible culprits. Below are 4 of the most common causes of an air conditioner freeze-up. 

 

Blocked Airflow

Air conditioners need to have constant airflow so humidity doesn’t settle on the coils and freeze. This humidity can even collect in dry climates like Colorado. Here are the common culprits of a lack of airflow in an air conditioner:

Dirty Filters

If your air filter is dirty and becomes clogged, airflow is restricted which disrupts your air conditioner’s functionality and increases the risk of an air conditioner freeze-up. Thankfully, air filters are inexpensive and keep your air conditioner running at peak performance, saving you money on your electricity bill. You should be changing your filter every month even if it says every three months. 

Closed or Blocked Vents

Closing or blocking too many vents in your home is a quick way to cause an AC freeze-up. If you have something in front of a return, you want at least 6 inches of space. If you decide to close some of the vents in your home, make sure they are not near your thermostat and you are only closing a few. 

A lack of airflow can also be caused by a collapsed duct, a bad blower motor, or low voltage to the fan, so if your filter is clean, you are not blocking your vents and you are still experiencing AC freeze-ups, contact an HVAC expert as soon as possible.

 

Overworking the System

This means a consistent runtime of more than two hours. Here are the two most common ways to overwork your air conditioner:

Setting the Temp Too Low

If you set your temperature too low and your air conditioner can’t keep up with the heat load, it will freeze over. You are making your air conditioner try to change the temperature of a large area too quickly, making it run longer than two hours. Make sure you lower your thermostat slowly to give your system a break, and don’t forget to rely on your other appliances like fans to cool the air as well. 

Cool Weather

For places like Denver where the Spring and Fall seasons bring warm days and cool nights, it’s not uncommon to have an AC freeze-up when your home is a lot warmer than the temperature outside. Air conditioners are designed to function in a specific temperature range. If you are running your air conditioner for more than 2 hours when the outside air is below 62 degrees, the pressure inside of your system will drop causing your air conditioner to freeze up. Try not to rely on your air conditioner when it’s cooler outside.

 

Dirty Coils

Another common cause of AC freeze-ups is a dirty air conditioner coil. Air conditioners tend to dehumidify the air, and that moisture builds up on the condenser coils. When the water builds up on clean coils, it evaporates or falls into the drip pan. If the coils are dirty, that layer of dirt and dust holds onto the water causing a freeze. Bi-annual checkups from your local HVAC professional can keep your AC’s coils clean.

 

Low/Leaking Refrigerant

In order for the refrigerant in your air conditioner to absorb heat and cool the air, it transitions from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid and back to a low-pressure gas. If there is a refrigerant leak or the refrigerant is too low, this causes a drop in pressure allowing the refrigerant to expand more than usual and become too cold. If there is a refrigerant leak, an HVAC expert can help you fix this but may recommend investing in a new air conditioner.

 

Though these are the most common culprits of an air conditioner freeze-up, there are a variety of other things that could cause this problem. If you are in Aurora or anywhere throughout the Denver Metro Area, Grand Home Services would love to help you with your air conditioner maintenance, cleaning, repair, or replacement needs. Contact us today!

 

When to Call for an Emergency Air Conditioning Repair

When your air conditioner stops working, not only does your home become uncomfortable, but it can be stressful not knowing if the system requires a minor or major repair. Knowing when you need an emergency air conditioner repair is very important and could save you money by preventing further damage.

So, what constitutes an air conditioning emergency and when should you be calling an expert for an emergency AC repair?

Your Air Conditioner Simply Doesn’t Work

Complete air conditioner breakdowns occur when you cannot get your AC unit to turn on or blow cool air. If your air conditioner isn’t working, you should immediately check your circuit breaker and your thermostat. If your AC unit is receiving power and the thermostat is set lower than the ambient temperature of your home, it’s a situation where you should call for an emergency AC repair. The longer you wait, the more uncomfortable your home will become in the summertime heat, especially in sunny Colorado.

Your Air Conditioner Is Causing Water Damage

Water can quickly spread and cause major property damage, damage to the unit itself, attract pests and even promote mold growth within 24 hours. The most common causes of water damage stemming from an air conditioner include:

  • Clogged or disconnected drain
  • Dirty condensate pump
  • Clogged air filter
  • Dirty evaporator coil
  • Cracked drain pan
  • Low refrigerant
  • Condensation buildup within ductwork

All of these problems should be addressed by your emergency AC repair contractor as soon as possible.

Your Air Conditioner Is Experiencing Electrical Issues

If you suspect there is an electrical problem, you should not wait to call a professional. Some common signs of air conditioning electrical problems are a tripped breaker, a burning smell, or a flickering/dim pilot light. Electrical issues are very serious and not something you should attempt to take care of yourself as there is a risk of a serious home electrical issue like a blackout or fire. An HVAC contractor has the experience and the technical knowledge needed to identify the problem and solve it quickly to get your air conditioner back to normal.

If you are near Grand Home Services in Aurora or anywhere in the Denver Metro Area, please give us a call. We offer 24/7 air conditioning emergency repair services.

4 Most Expensive AC Repairs and How to Avoid Them

8 Warning Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Repair

4 Most Expensive AC Repairs and How to Avoid Them

Having your air conditioner break down is inconvenient and can be very expensive to repair. A lot of these repairs can be avoided with regular inspections and cleaning. These inspections catch small problems before they become larger, more expensive problems to fix.

Here are 5 of the most expensive AC repairs and how they can be avoided. Keep in mind, these estimates greatly depend on the manufacturer of the unit, the age of the unit, and how well the unit has been maintained.

 

Replacement Evaporative Coil: $2,000 – $3,500

If your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, chances are it is due to the evaporative coil. Refrigerant runs through the coil and as air passes over it the heat is absorbed. If there is a leak or it no longer functions, it will take a long time for the system to cool your home, if at all.

Unfortunately, repair isn’t an option. Evaporative coils are large components full of tiny dips, curves, crevices, and hard-to-see, hard-to-reach areas. A leak is like a needle in a haystack.

How to avoid: annual cleaning and refrigerant recharges. If refrigerant gets low, the unit will have work harder which will increase the risk of failure.

 

Compressor Replacement: $1,850 – $2,800

Your air conditioner’s compressor moves the refrigerant through your system to remove heat and humidity. When the coils are dirty, the system must work harder to expel heat which leads to overheating and a system failure.

Compressor replacement is one of the most expensive, time-consuming AC repairs. This repair could be less than $1,850 depending on the warranty of your AC unit, but unfortunately the average repair fee lies within the above range.

How to avoid: annual cleaning. Compressor failure is usually the result of dirty coils that make the system work extra hard to expel heat.

 

Condenser Fan Motor: $500 – $1,500

The condensing unit fan is responsible for pulling air through coils of the condensing unit. When the system is dirty or has been idle for too long without cleaning, the fan will not run, run intermittently, run slowly, or make unusual noises.

During the winter this fan sits idle until the air conditioner is turned back on in the spring when temperatures begin to rise. This can be a problem for the condenser fan motor. Sitting all winter without any motion, the bearings and shaft in the air conditioner motor can seize up or rust.

How to avoid: Spring inspection, cleaning, and keep up with air filter replacements. It is important that the air conditioner motor be inspected and cleaned to ensure it is running at full power.

 

Refrigerant Leak Repair: $300 – $1,500

If you are experiencing a refrigerant leak and the leak does not require a new evaporative coil, the repair is a bit cheaper but—depending on the source—can still be expensive. Sometimes the leak occurs at the end of the evaporative coil where the copper bends, other times it can be as simple as a rubber seal. No matter the source, it’s important to get a refrigerant leak repaired as soon as possible. A leak can cause further problems and quickly get expensive.

How to avoid: consistent inspection and cleaning. When an HVAC professional inspects your air conditioner, they might be able to see a leak is coming if there is deterioration. Just like visiting the dentist, it’s important to take preventative measures with your AC unit.

 

With all these expensive AC repairs, many can be avoided with consistent inspections and cleaning from an HVAC professional. It’s easy to forget about the unit when it’s working in the background, but you’ll wish you had taken preventative measures when a problem arises.

Are you in need of an AC inspection, cleaning, recharge or repair in the Denver Metro Area? Grand Home Services is located in Aurora, Colorado and provides HVAC services throughout Denver. Contact us today!

8 Warning Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Repair

As the days get longer and hotter, your AC unit works hard to keep your home comfortable. From old age to having a dirty filter, a number of things can keep your unit from running efficiently. It’s important to keep an eye out for signs that your unit needs repair before one problem causes another, or worse, you need to replace the AC unit. Here are 8 common warning signs you may want to look for:

  1. AC unit is old

    If your air conditioner is older than the average life expectancy of AC units in homes today—between 15 and 20 years—it likely needs attention. It’s not a bad idea to start shopping for a replacement just in case of an emergency, but it’s important you get an older AC unit inspected and cleaned to prolong its life. If you are in the Denver Metro Area, we can help you with this.

  2. Your electric bill has gone up

    It’s normal for utility bills to fluctuate, but a significantly higher than normal energy bill means your air conditioner is running inefficiently. This could be due to a clogged air filter, a broken motor, or something more serious. It’s best to get your AC unit inspected before the problem worsens and you continue to run up your energy bill.

  3. Unit is releasing a bad odor

    It is not a good sign when your AC unit gives off a bad smell. An unpleasant odor can mean there is an issue with the filter, a buildup of dirt, or even mildew. No matter the culprit, the smell means something is wrong and could be bad for your health. It’s best to contact an HVAC contractor for a quick diagnostic and a full cleaning of the system.

  4. Warm air

    If your unit is running but the air is coming out warm or your home isn’t cooling down, there is likely an issue with your refrigerant. Your homes AC system should keep your home comfortable and is designed to cool your home to the temperature you set via the thermostat. However, a loss of refrigerant can cause your system to stop cooling effectively, making your home uncomfortable.
    There is also a chance the lack of cold air is due to the AC compressor. When the AC compressor stops working, your air conditioning system essentially becomes a large central fan with no ability to cool the air that flows through it. This can be a very technical and challenging fix–requiring the assistance of an HVAC professional.

  5. Insufficient airflow

    If your air conditioning unit is not pushing out as much air as usual, this is usually a sign the air compressor is failing. It can also mean the AC air ducts are clogged. Even if the air that is coming out of the unit is cold, your air conditioner will only work overtime to compensate which can quickly lead to an AC burnout.

  6. Frozen AC coil

    One of the most common causes of air conditioner coils needing repair or replacement is frozen pipes as a result of a dirty or blocked air filter. When your filter becomes too dirty, your air conditioner’s air flow is decreased, causing it to work harder, and occasionally, for the refrigerant coils to freeze. We can repair or replace your fan coil unit to get your air conditioning system back up and running.

  7. Loud and persistent noises

    Loud and persistent noises can indicate a serious problem. Pay attention to the sounds you hear and, if possible, describe them to your HVAC contractor. Squealing and whistling noises may come from belt or fan issues while banging noises can mean broken and loose internal components that can cause more problems. All these noises are signs that your furnace needs to be repaired.

  8. Refrigerant is leaking

    When your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant or freon, this can cause your system to stop cooling your home or even freeze up. These leaks can occur throughout the unit including the valve cores, weld joints, filter canisters or system’s tubing. Finding a leak in the unit can be a complicated process, so it is best to have an expert detect and perform air conditioner refrigerant leak repair on the system.

 

Contact us for AC repair in Denver, Colorado

Located in Aurora, we provide air conditioner repair services throughout the Denver Metro Area. If you need AC repair, inspection, cleaning, replacement, or emergency service, contact our team today.