What could those noises coming from your air conditioner mean? Today’s high-efficiency cooling units are exceptionally quiet, featuring sound dampening technology and variable speed compressors that keep noise levels low (below 55 decibels). Noises emitted by your system during operation should be unnoticeable, so if you hear strange sounds, they shouldn’t be ignored.
Why Is My AC Making Noise?
These sounds could indicate your system needs to be repaired or replaced.
The clicking on and off of system components at start-up and shutdown can be a normal part of operation – but these noised should not be constant. If you hear repeated clicking, you may have a failing thermostat or other electronic control. Because there are many electrical components in your system, it is essential to manage clicking noises quickly to avoid bigger issues down the road.
Buzzing can be caused by many issues, including loose or out of balance parts (blower, fan, copper lines), or the near failure of components. Buzzing can also be a sign of neglected simple maintenance needs, such as home air filter replacement, coil cleaning, or inadequate refrigerant levels.
Humming usually isn’t serious unless it’s a compressor that hums and refuses to start. In most cases, it points to electrical issues (loose wiring).
Banging noises often indicate a loose or broken part in the compressor, such as a pin, rod, valves, piston, or crankshaft. In the case of compressor issues, it could mean replacement. Banging can also be a sign your indoor blower is unbalanced.
Clanking also typically indicates a loose part or component. It can also indicate out of balance components, such as blower or fan blades out of alignment coming in contact with other parts. These issues often lead to bigger problems when ignored. Once parts inside the unit have failed, or the compressor has become loose, system replacement may be necessary.
Rattling, chattering sounds can indicate loose parts (fan, electrical components, casing screws/bolts), or indicate your system is deteriorating and may soon require replacement. Like buzzing, rattling may also result from twigs clogging the system, the need for a coil cleaning, or air filter replacement.
A quick squeal on startup can be normal for some systems, occurring from day one. Squealing, squeaks, and rattles with a rapid onset, heard through the duct system, however, could indicate fan or blower motor malfunctions.
High pitched screaming or whistling noises indicate a potentially dangerous situation. Turn off your system immediately. Contact your local air conditioning service company ASAP. Screaming noises may indicate dangerously high pressure in the compressor. Your system may shut itself off as a safeguard.
Don’t Ignore Strange AC Sounds
Ignoring the sounds your system is making could result in minor issues turning into major repair costs. Oftentimes, a simple tune-up or minor maintenance will remedy issues and prevent repair costs from spiraling.