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Because most new central air conditioners built within the last decade are designed to operate very quietly, with variable speed motors and fan blades designed to reduce noise, when you do hear unusual noises, or the unit is runs much louder than usual, it is often a sign of a problem. It may be a symptom of a part has worn out and is about to fail. By being aware of these noises you can address the small problems before they lead to an expensive breakdown. 

Central Air Conditioner Noises

A central air conditioner is going to make some sounds when it is working normally. Subtle thumping, hissing and whining sounds are normal. By becoming familiar with the normal operating sounds that an air conditioner makes, you will be able to more easily recognize unusual sounds that could be a cause for concern.

The Sounds of a Malfunctioning Air Conditioner

Air conditioners have many parts; there are fans, hoses, belts, compressor motors, coils and other components that work together to move cool air throughout your home. As air conditioners age belts often loosen, leading to thumping sounds. A clogged air filter will reduce air flow and can cause the unit to whine as it cycles on and off. Loose hardware on compressor parts can lead to rattling sounds.

One of the most common causes of a central AC unit running more loudly is a lack of maintenance. Annual maintenance is important to address the small problems like worn out belts, loose mounts, and other problems before they result in a major breakdown. Preventative maintenance is the best way to minimize the likelihood of air conditioner repairs. An AC tune-up includes the following steps that keep your air conditioner operating quietly and reliably. Annual AC maintenance includes some common items like:
  • Inspection and lubrication of moving parts
  • Inspection and replacement of worn belts and hoses
  • Replacement of dirty air filters
  • Ensuring that the unit cycles on and off properly
  • Inspection of electrical connections
  • Inspection of refrigerant levels

AC Rattling Noises

Rattling noises are a pretty common with air conditioners. Over time the various fasteners attaching components to the unit can come loose. If you hear rattling, check the screws or bolts holding the cover plates in place. If the rattling noises persist after tightening the panels, remove the cover and check internally for the same issue. After listening for rattles, always turn the power to the unit off at the breaker.

AC Whistling Sounds

Whistling sounds are usually heard when seals are leaking. Check for cracks and gaps in the seams of ducts near the unit and the duct work that carries the air throughout the home. Examine the seams around these areas for loose connections and re-tighten any screws or bolts. If heat tape was used to also cover the seals, make sure the tape completely adheres to the duct seams.

AC Screeching Sounds

Like your car, the air conditioner motor uses belts. If there is periodic screeching that only occurs when the unit turns on to blow air or cool the air down, it is likely a worn-out belt that needs to be replaced. Over time belts can stretch and wear out. A qualified HVAC technician should check the belt and replace it if needed.

Clunking Sounds

Clunking sounds can mean something has come loose inside the air conditioner unit. A loose fan blade on a motor can make sounds as it turns. Or it could be a plastic component or cover plate coming into contact with the.

If you're hearing unusual sounds from your central air conditioner, call Air Specialties Heating and Air Conditioning. We will inspect the unit to ensure it is operating safely and reliably.



Published in Air Conditioning
Air Conditioner Maintenance West Haven

Before you schedule your annual air conditioner maintenance there are a few simple steps you can take yourself to ensure your central air conditioner is ready to run when the first hot day of the season rolls around.

Outside the House

The outside section of the air conditioner, called the condenser, should be clean and unobstructed. The unit draws air in from the sides to dissipate heat so ensure that there are no trees, shrubs or other objects near the unit that could be reducing the flow of air. The fins and condensing coils of the air conditioner should be clean, without excessive dirt or debris.
  • Vacuum away any dirt, leaves and debris outside the main cabinet. Never use a power washer to clean an air conditioner!
  • Inspect the base pan for blocked drain openings
  • Inspect the coil and cabinet for any holes and leaks
  • Inspect the fan blades for any damage

Inside the Home

  • Replace the air filter - A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, increasing the likelihood of early failure.
  • Ensure that air vents or registers are unobstructed in every room of your home.
  • Update your thermostat for the cooling season.
  • Check for any unusual odors when your system starts.
  • Listen for abnormal noises when your system starts.
If you experience any strange odors or sounds, or the air conditioner is not cooling correctly, give Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating a call.
Published in Air Conditioning
How Long Does a Central Air Conditioner Last?

As the hot, humid weather arrives in the West Haven area and you prepare to switch on your central air conditioner for another summer you may be wondering just how many more years of service it will provide before needing replacement. The short answer is approximately 10-15 years. The long answer, however, is a little more complicated. How long your air conditioner will last depends on many factors. Some of these factors include the quality of the air conditioner itself – lower costs models will likely need replacement before a more expensive, higher end model does. A lower cost air conditioner may be ready for replacement in as little as 8 years.

The good news is that many of the factors that determine how long your central air conditioner will last are under your control. The most important thing you can do is have your air conditioner professionally maintained each spring. Annual maintenance will not only help the unit last longer, it will allow it to operate more efficiently, saving you money on your utility bill and reducing the likelihood of unexpected repairs.

Because most air conditioner parts can be replaced as they wear out, it's usually a good idea to repair parts as wear out. With new air conditioners operating at much higher efficiency than units made just a decade ago, replacing the unit could ultimately be more cost effective in the long run when compared to the cost of keeping an aging 10-15 year old unit running.

Have questions about your central air conditioner? Give Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating a call, we can help answer all your home cooling questions.
Published in Air Conditioning
With warm weather right around the corner we will soon be turning our central air conditioners on to cool our homes.  Regular maintenance is critical to ensuring that your cooling system is running reliably and efficiently. A dirty, unmaintained air conditioner not only costs you money in the form of more frequent repairs and a shortened lifespan of the unit, but every time it's running in the form of higher utility bills.

West Haven AC Maintenance

Consider these facts:

“A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool – wasting energy and leading to expensive repairs and/or early system failure...A buildup of .042(1/20) inches of dirt on the heating or cooling coil can result in a decrease inefficiency of 21%.” – EnergyStar.gov

“1/8th of an inch of dirt and dust build-upon the blower wheel can reduce airflow by up to 30%” – Texas A&M Study

In addition to keeping your air conditioner clean, an Air Specialties Air Conditioning tune-up includes lubricating moving parts, checking coolant levels, inspecting the blower motor, belts, electrical systems and much more. So call us today to schedule your AC tune up and keep your cooling system is operating reliably and efficiently all year long.

So don't wait until the busy summer season to tune-up your air conditioner. Schedule you air conditioner tune-up today and rest easy knowing your air conditioner is running efficiently all summer long.
Published in Air Conditioning
Sunday, 21 January 2018 21:13

How To Check a Gas Furnace Pilot Light

Gas Furnace Standing Pilot FlameWhile electronic ignition furnaces have been around for a while now, you may still have a gas furnace with a standing pilot light that remains lit all the time. The standing pilot light works in conjunction with a thermocouple to control the ignition of the burners and the flow of gas. The thermocouple senses if the pilot flame is hot enough to ignite the fuel to the burner.

If you have an old furnace that uses a pilot light, it needs to be kept clean burning and properly adjusted to ensure that the furnace operates safely and efficiently.

Inspecting a Gas Furnace Pilot Light Flame

Remove the furnace cover panel to expose the burner assembly and pilot. You should be able to clearly see the flame of the pilot light. The first thing to check is the color of the flame.
  • A natural gas flame should be a bright blue color with a small amount of yellow at the very tip.
  • A propane flame will have more of a bluish-green flame with a tinge of yellow at the tip.
  • The flame should strong enough to cover about 1/2 inch at the end of the thermocouple tip.
  • If the flame is too strong and not adjusted correctly, it will be blue and may make a hissing sound as the flame crosses the thermocouple. The pilot should be adjusted to reduce the intensity of the flame.
  • A yellow flame is caused by lack of oxygen and incomplete combustion. If the pilot light is a weak yellow flame it will not get hot enough to heat the thermocouple to the temperature needed to enable the gas valve to open. This is often caused by a dirty pilot tube tip.
  • A split flame is usually caused by a dirty pilot tube.
  • A flickering or wavering flame is usually caused by a draft. Check to see if there are sources of drafts in the room and take steps to reduce the effects on the furnace.
Have questions about your gas furnace or boiler? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating.
Published in Heating
Proper drainage and maintenance is the key to preventing AC mold problems.

Preventing air conditioner mold problems
Summers in Connecticut can be hot and very humid. With the air conditioner running and the home tightly sealed. It's important to ensure that your central air conditioner is operating properly to prevent excess moisture build up that can lead to the growth of unhealthy mold and mildew. When your central air conditioner is running, the condenser, the part located inside the home, creates condensation that accumulates into a pan before emptying down the condensation drain tube. This pan is called the condensate drain pan. If the tube that drains the water from the pan becomes clogged, water can accumulate allowing unhealthy mold and mildew to grow. By checking the drain pain occasionally and taking some basic maintenance steps you can prevent mold from growing.

IMPORTANT: Before doing any work near the air conditioner always turn off the power to the unit first.

1. If you notice water accumulating in the evaporator pan, check to see if the drain line is obstructed with dirt or debris.

2. Clean out the evaporator pan with hot soapy water. A small amount of bleach can be added to disinfect the surface and kill any existing mold and bacteria, and a sponge.

3. Next, Pour bleach through the pan's condensate tube to kill mold and algae, which can obstruct the drain tube and cause the pan to fill up and overflow. Check the tube's outside end to make sure it's draining freely.

4. To prevent future mold and algae growth, a chlorine tablet and be placed in the evaporator pan. Note that this is the kind of chlorine tablet used for swimming pools and hot tubs, not the kind used in toilets.


Have questions about preventing mold in your air conditioner? Call Air Specialties. We can help identify the cause of the mold and offer effective solutions for preventing future mold growth. We also offer whole home dehumidifiers that can reduce excess humidity and improve the air quality and comfort in the home.
Published in Indoor Air Quality
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