What should the condenser sound like kicking on?


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Old 07-05-22, 09:22 AM
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What should the condenser sound like kicking on?

I'll work on capturing a video/audio clip of my compressor kicking on, but I don't have it at the moment. It sounds to a degree like a steel girder being banged on, a momentary (I'm not swearing) "Dangggg" sound, then the fan/compressor starts fine. The capacitors (two singles, not a dual) are both new-ish (3 years) and tested OK. (Also, it's been the same sound all along, even when the capacitors were brand new.)

Q1 part 1 - is that normal? My other unit doesn't do it, my neighbors doesn't

Q1 part 2 - HOWEVER.... the compressor was replaced under a homeowners warranty 2 years ago, and I forget exactly the "why" part, but the tech chose not to put the sound blanket back over the compressor unit, so I don't necessarily have an exact apples to apples comparison.

Q2 - is/was it legit to leave off the sound blanket? Is/Was there a good reason for that? (I'm in Central Florida, where summers are either very heavy rain or hot as hell.)

(BTW, I'm going to make another post with a totally different question, to keep my multiple topics separate.)
 
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Old 07-05-22, 10:00 AM
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Adding brief video/audio clip

Here's the sound.
  • FYI, for the first 1.8 seconds of the video, that buzz is my neighbor's unit, not mine (just ten feet away.)
  • At 1.8 seconds (hard to miss) you'll hear my unit kicking on.
  • Also fyi, the fan does get up to a normal speed, even if at the end, the stroboscopic effect of the video makes it look like it's slow.
  • To be fair, I suppose it could be the fan making the startup noise? (I do need to replace it, the WD40 to stop the squealing has lasted an amazingly long time.) I'm open to suggestion as to how to tell which.
  • Microsoft Onedrive link to shared video: https://1drv.ms/v/s!Anl-vA0RiSI_g6wot98p4hqpjpimvg
Thanks
 
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Old 07-05-22, 10:18 AM
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The startup noise is two motors coming on at the same time... the compressor and the fan.
Your compressor sounds loud. I don't hear anything wrong with it.
If you're asking if a compressor blanket would help.... maybe a little but it will still be loud.

 
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Old 07-05-22, 10:49 AM
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Thanks, @PJMax.

I'll give the blanket a try and see what happens. I was more curious (trying to remember) why the tech decided not to put it back on. Are they standard fare? Any concerns over using them?
 
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Old 07-05-22, 12:27 PM
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Good questions.

I checked with an associate and he says they can contain 30%-50% of the compressor noise.
They also hold the compressor temperature more constant.

They are a combination of rubber and fiberglass insulation.
May be just what you need there.
 
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Old 07-05-22, 01:31 PM
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Awesome, thanks again.

sidenote: it was garage door lubricant that bought me so much time on my fan, that I forgot about needing to replace it. Wd40 (the first time) bought me a couple months. And Iím too embarrassed to admit how long the garage door lubricant has worked. Both times were Friday nights btw, so it was more an act of desperation at the time of spraying. Obviously a lot of luck was involved there. Most people arenít as lucky.
 
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Old 07-05-22, 03:48 PM
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Lubricants are all oil based. There are hundreds of different products all made with the same base.
There is usually not a problem if you use a lubricant with a similar characteristic.

WD-40 is technically not a lubricant and although it may appear to help.... it doesn't last long as a motor lubricant.
It's predominantly a water displacer with awesome advertising. (works on everything )
 
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Old 07-06-22, 10:33 AM
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I also have a noisy condenser and I have garage door grease. I have never lubed my condenser before, but it sounds like a reasonable idea.

My question is where exactly to grease it? I worry that as soon as the fan starts to spin, the lube will fly off in all directions.
 
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Old 07-06-22, 11:34 AM
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Just my story, about five+ years ago I went through my outside unit doing a bunch of preventative maintenance. I noticed the sound blanket was in pretty poor shape (insulation seemed petty compressed/non existent) and I replaced it (cost just under $100). My family noticed a significant difference in the compressor noise.

I also wound up replacing the expensive fan motor even thought it was working "fine". I had replaced the blade a few year prior after I accidently bent the blade removing it to clean out the inside. With the replacement of the motor, the unit also had a significant reduction in noise. I'm guessing the bearing were allowing a bit of wobble which shook the sheet metal a bit.

The unit (Trane) is 24 years old and works fine.
 
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Old 07-07-22, 04:49 AM
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Yep, "Water Displacement, 40th attempt" aka WD40 (the stories on it's name are true) displaces water, it's not a lubricant.

And @rocket, I more think I got very lucky that the lubricant worked, rather than suggesting everyone should do it. My condenser fan (not the condenser, the fan) late one Friday night, middle of summer, and just a few feet from my neighbor's house, decided to start squealing very loudly, where my choices were turn off the AC altogether, or see if WD 40 silenced it temporarily. (In the interim, the homeowners warranty company came out, but wouldn't replace it since the fan was working and not squealing.) A few weeks/months later it happened again, and that second time I used garage door lubricant with silicone, and it's been a year since it squealed.

In my case I aimed roughly for where the fan-facing bearing would be on the underside of the motor, not quite within range to accurately aim the lubricant (definitely not INTO the motor, just at the bearing, roughly). The garage door lubricant I used had a little straw, not unlike WD40, so I got a bit under the grill and aimed as best I could, going around in a circle with the fan off. (I could have and probably should have disconnected electricity and taken off the side and gone inside for better aiming, but I didn't do that.) I confess, I did also send a squirt or two while the fan was running too. It's outdoors, it gets rained on, and tree leaves accumulate down in the bottom too. A few drops of silicon lubricant too, I went for it.

So again, I'll chalk it up to Karma/good luck being on my side, for once. The fan was loud before, loud after, I definitely wouldn't do it just for a loud fan, but a loudly squealing fan, midnight on Friday night of a holiday weekend in Summer, I was happily surprised that it worked in my case. (My lawyers said to say, "Do not Try") ;-)
 
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