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Commonly Reported HVAC Problems:
[Copyright © 1996-2013. Hannabery HVAC. All rights reserved.]
Outdoor unit makes strange/loud noises:
Heat pumps do tend to makes strange and/or loud noises at times, more so in the winter. Heat pumps have reversing valves that reverse the flow of refrigerant between the heating and cooling modes. During the winter, whenever the heat pump goes into the defrost mode, this valve shifts. Along with that comes a "wooshing sound", which usually lasts for a couple of seconds. After that, the compressor sometimes sounds much louder than usual, almost a "tinny sound". After shutdown the refrigerant pressures equalize, during this period sounds can sometimes be heard, but this is normal.
Another common loud sound is when the outdoor unit starts up or shuts off. Specifically, the newer "Scroll" type compressors tend to make a "back-peddling" type of noise on shutdown. And on start-up, they sometimes sound like an "out-of-balanced washing machine".
Sometimes customers complain of a buzzing noise coming from the outdoor unit, even when it's not running. This is usually the reversing valve solenoid coil. It's low voltage (24 volts) so it isn't really wasting energy and sometimes they can be heard.
If you are hearing a very loud "metal-hitting-metal type sound", the fan blades could be hitting something; possibly ice, or a wire, or tubing. Take a look and shut the unit off immediately. This almost always ruins the fan blades and possibly the motor as well. If a piece of copper tubing shifted and is being hit by the blades, they could cut a hole in it causing the refrigerant to leak out.
Then there is always the vibration noise, which sounds simple but can be the most difficult to eliminate. Sometimes it is just a matter of installing rubber isolation pads under the unit. Sometimes the refrigerant piping is strapped too tightly to the joists or studs in the home. Sometimes it is in the unit itself and cannot be eliminated.
Below is a list of possible causes. Items in red usually require a service call. Items in blue however can be addressed, some even fixed by the homeowner.
Red = Professional fix | Blue = Homeowner fix
The bottom causes in blue are commonly found problems and can be addressed by the homeowner. Try to check for these conditions first before calling for service.
Please keep in mind that the information found on our website is provided free of charge and Hannabery HVAC does not assume any liability resulting from the information we provide. We hope this information helps, but please note that these are just rough guidelines, and not all possible situations are covered. Your HVAC system should be inspected and repaired by a trained technician.
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