Is your air conditioner making noises that are a bit strange? Your AC is talking to you. And it’s saying, “help.”
One of the most frustrating things about being a homeowner is the expenses that creep up on you. Just when you think everything’s running smoothly, you get a leaky faucet, loose floorboard, or hear strange noises coming from your air conditioner.
In attempts to help you analyze AC sounds, we’ve made a nifty list so that you can determine whether you have a simple issue or if you should add an HVAC professional to your speed dial.
The 8 Most Common AC Noises and What They May Mean
When a weird sound comes out of your air conditioner, it’s usually not a great sign. These sounds may be indicative of a problem that’s causing your system to run less efficiently.
When these strange sounds are ignored, whatever’s causing them may eventually result in serious damage to your air conditioner. Don’t drown out the noise. Discover what’s causing your air conditioner to be so noisy and learn how to help it.
Different noises mean different issues. Since you likely don’t speak air conditioner, here’s a guide to help you understand what the strange sound coming from your AC means.
1. Loud Noises
Does your AC just sound too loud?
There are several reasons why an air conditioner is too loud: Dirty condenser fins, an air conditioner that’s too big for your home, damaged air ducts, or an AC that’s simply too old and needs to be replaced.
The best way to prevent AC issues is to have regular AC maintenance checks. Routine inspections allow the technician to anticipate potential problems and address them before they occur.
It’s also the best way to extend the lifespan of your unit. As one of your home’s biggest investments, it’s important to take good care of it.
2. Humming Noise
A humming sound could be a sign that the air conditioner’s capacitor is bad.
The capacitor is the part in your AC that makes the motor start when you turn it on.
This is likely the case if, in addition to the humming noise, the AC also takes a while to start every time you turn it on, or if it shuts off on its own.
3. Buzzing Noise
If your AC is frozen, it’ll make a buzzing sound when you turn it on.
One of the main reasons for ice to form inside an air conditioner is the failure to change the air filters regularly. When they become caked with dust, they block the airflow.
As a result, the condensation from the humidity inside your home freezes on the coils inside the unit, causing layers of ice to form.
If you hear unusually loud buzzing or humming sounds coming from your air conditioner, have a professional AC technician check things out.
Call (727) 800-4148 for AC Service in the Tampa Bay Area
4. Squealing Noise
This obnoxious sound could be an indication that the compressor is damaged. This is the part of the air conditioner that pumps refrigerant (the gas that cools air) through your unit.
If you hear a squealing noise, shut off the AC before the faulty part causes additional damage to the system.
5. Rattling Noise
The reason an air conditioner rattles depends on where the sound is coming from. If you can hear it throughout your home, it could be a sign that your air ducts were either improperly installed or have become loose.
If it’s a relatively recent occurrence, check to see if any of the air vents have been shut in any of the rooms. Closing vents changes the air pressure inside the ducts and could cause them to either spring leaks or become loose.
If the sound is coming from the main, inside portion of your AC, it’s likely due to loose parts, such as screws, fasteners, or bolts. For this issue, you should get an HVAC professional to help you.
If the sound is coming from the condenser unit (the big box outside your home), shut off power to the AC at the breaker level and inspect the top and side panels to see if any small branches, sticks leaves, or any other debris has become stuck in the unit.
After turning off the unit, you can easily remove the fan grill to remove whatever is caught inside. If none of these things seem to be the cause, the rattling sounds may be coming from your compressor. This happens with age and is a usually one of the first signs that an AC replacement is in order.
Call (727) 800-4148 for a Free In-Home Estimate on a New AC Installation in the Tampa Bay Area
6. Whistling or Hissing Noise
A hissing sound may be cause for alarm if you notice the following issues: AC is not cooling, frost is forming on condenser unit (the box that is outside your home or in the furnace closet if you live in an apartment), and energy bills are higher. This is likely an indication of a refrigerant leak.
Contact our emergency line if this is the case since prolonged exposure to refrigerant fumes can be poisonous.
Related blog: 5 Signs Your Air Conditioner is Low on Refrigerant
7. Grinding Noise
The compressor or the fan belt may cause a grinding noise coming from your air conditioner.
The compressor may be worn down, causing its parts to make harsh grinding sounds as they compress refrigerant. This is usually a sign it’s time to replace the compressor.
It is also possible that the sound is coming from your fan belt, which may mean it has come loose. If the fan belt is loose, it could damage other parts of your air conditioner.
8. Clunking Noise
If your air conditioning system is an older model, a clunking sound may indicate that the motor needs lubrication (newer models don’t require this).
While there are plenty of DIY videos online, it’s important to keep in mind that air conditioners are high-voltage systems and you must be extra cautious when working on them.
If you do decide to it yourself, remember to shut off the AC and the breaker before getting started.
Call Blair’s Air for AC Repair in the Tampa Bay Area
Strange air conditioner noises are bothering you? Then listen to what they’re trying to tell you!
Although your system may continue to work properly when making a strange noise, whatever’s causing the sound could end up causing more damage if it’s allowed to persist.
The team of experienced technicians at Blair’s have served Tampa Bay area residents since 1974.
If your air conditioner is making unusual sounds, or you are experiencing any other issues with your system, we’ve got you covered.
Call us today to restore comfort to your home, or schedule service online to get started.
Call (727) 800-4148 to schedule service.