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Is Your AC Making Noise Here's What It Means

Is Your AC Making Noise? Here’s What It Means

August 2020

By rileyheat_008

With advancing technology, HVAC systems are also turning into smart devices. Today’s air conditioners are quieter than ever. And we want to make sure yours stays that way.

High-efficiency AC units are incorporated with sound-dampening technology and two-stage (variable speed) compressors to keep noise levels below 55 decibels. So if you hear unusual sounds coming from your air conditioner during normal operation, don't ignore them, as this could be a sign that the unit needs a repair or upgrade. No matter how high the quality of your air conditioner, a time will come when it will break down. Often, it begins with weird noises. Strange, unusual noises are often your first signs of a breaking AC.

If Your Air Conditioning Unit Is Making Noises You Shouldn’t Ignore Them!

Ignoring the mysterious noises from your AC can turn minor issues into major expenses, as these noises could signal anything from needing a simple tune-up to costly repairs, to [—worst case -] replacement of the entire unit. The sooner you can determine the cause of the noise and resolve your AC issues, the better.

So let’s understand these noises and what they mean?

#1 Humming Noise In The AC Unit

Well, it is quite common for the AC unit to emit a very soft humming sound, but a loud humming noise isn’t ordinary. A loud humming noise can signal a variety of maintenance issues. One of the most common causes of such loud humming noises indicates loose parts. Most often people do not take these noises seriously and ignore them. The longer you leave this issue unchecked, the bigger the maintenance problem can be.

The loud humming sound might also indicate that your motor is having friction issues and needs lubrication. You should regularly apply high quality lubrication to the motor to avoid such humming noises.

#2 Clanking Sound

Clanking is yet another sign of a loose or out-of-balance part. The sound or noise coming from the parts that are inside the sealed unit indicate some sort of component functioning failure or the compressor itself may have become loose, possibly necessitating a replacement. The clanking sound can also mean that the indoor blower or outdoor fan and its blades are out of balance and hitting other parts. These types of issues will only get worse and create bigger problems if ignored.

#3 Clicking

A loud clicking sound generally indicates a lot of things that might occur in the AC system. It depends on where and when you hear the clicking noise: So let’s check out where you hear these noises.

  • If you hear the clicking noise while the AC is running, it could mean a small object has nestled its way into your blower fan, so the object hits against the fan as it spins.
  • If you hear the clicking noise when you try to start your AC (but it won’t start), that’s usually a sign of an electrical issue within the thermostat, compressor, or capacitor.

#4 Screaming

Most people claim that when you hear a loud screaming sound from your AC unit, it usually indicates some major problems. So if you hear high-pitched whistling or screaming, shut the air conditioner off and call a professional right away. The most likely cause is a refrigerant leak which not only damages your air conditioner but can also threaten your family’s health. Screaming might also indicate high internal pressure within your compressor, which is very dangerous. If your air conditioner turns off on its own, don't panic. Consider this a good thing. A sensor is doing its job to protect you from a potentially hazardous situation. 

Summary

These were some of the common noises that you hear when your AC is trying to convey something to you. If you hear something unsettling apart from these noises that you believe could indicate an issue with your AC, it’s a good idea to turn off your central air conditioner unit as a precaution until it can be inspected thoroughly. Air conditioning units cost a lot to repair and replace. And while it’s never convenient to have a broken air conditioner, a yearly or bi-annual inspection and tune-up can prevent future problems.

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