Most people expect some noise from their air conditioner. Humming or an occasional pop isn't anything to cause concern. What should cause concern is shaking. If the ducts and vents in your home seem to shake, or worse, if the outdoor unit vibrates and shakes, you likely have a problem that requires immediate repair. The following guide can help you address these concerns.
What causes shaking?
Vibration is normal for the outdoor unit of your air conditioner. Between the motor and fans whirring, some vibration is to be expected. This means that in most cases vibration doesn't indicate an issue with the air conditioner itself. The exception is if the vibration is severe. For example, if the unit is actually moving as opposed to vibrating, or if it is accompanied by loud noises, poor performance, or bad odors, then the vibration is not normal and a repair technician needs to be called in immediately.
For normal vibration that seems to make the unit shake more than is necessary, there can be a couple of different causes.
Is the unit equipped with anti-vibration pads?
Outdoors units are typically installed on concrete pads, which are then topped with a special rubber-like pad called an anti-vibration pad. The AC is seated on top of this pad. Anti-vibration pads come in a few designs, from those made to match the footprint of the unit exactly to simple pads that are just placed at the corners or perimeter of the unit. If the pad has aged badly or compressed, it may no longer be doing its job. Another concern is that the unit may have shifted, which means it is no longer seated on the pads properly. Malfunctioning anti-vibration pads don't require an immediate visit from an AC technician, but you do need to schedule a repair soon. Over time, the excess vibration can cause parts inside the AC to shake loose.
Could the unit need servicing?
Another common issue is that something inside the unit is causing the excess vibration. A belt could be wearing unevenly and causing shaking, for example, or the fan may need to be rebalanced or to have its bearings replaced. If ignored, these issues will only become worse, in part because of the excess vibrations. Schedule an inspection soon to determine if the vibrations are due to a mechanical issue.
Is the problem in the ducts?
Occasionally, the issue isn't with the AC at all, but with the ductwork. Ducts that have become loose or damaged will vibrate when the AC is on. This can be very loud. If the unit itself seems to be fairly stable, then there is a good chance the issue is in the ductwork.
For more help, contact an AC service like Northwest Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.