Is Your AC Making One Of These Seven Common Noises?

Is your air conditioning unit crying out for help? Homeowners dread the moment when a vital household appliance begins making unusual noises. These sounds are disruptive and often a sign that something is wrong within the HVAC unit, so you will want to react quickly.

If left unchecked, minor issues indicated by these sounds could turn into major repairs or cause the unit to require replacement. That’s why it’s important to know why your AC unit is making noise like:

  • Buzzing noise: This can be caused by several issues from loose or broken parts to a dirty air filter.
  • Clicking noise: If your HVAC unit clicks when turning on or off you are likely looking at an electrical issue.
  • Clanking or banging noise: You can usually solve a banging or clanking noise by tightening up parts in the AC unit.
  • Squealing noise: If you hear a constant squealing noise you are likely experiencing blower or fan issues.
  • Hissing noise: Hissing noises come from AC units when there is a duct problem or your air filter is not correctly installed.
  • Rattling noise: Loose debris is in the AC unit, your AC unit is aging, or there are loose parts in the HVAC system.
  • Screeching noise: Screeching is usually caused by metal parts scraping on each other.

The sooner you contact a professional to identify the root cause of those irritating sounds and service your AC unit, the better. Let’s take a look at what can cause different types of noises from your AC unit and how you and address the issue to save you and your family from battling the hot Billings summer.

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Investigating Strange Noises From Your Air Conditioning Unit

If your air conditioner is making unusual sounds, you will want to do some investigating before you call a professional to help pinpoint the issue.

Start by removing debris, like leaves, tree fluff, and seed pods from the outdoor condenser coils. You can remove the top of your outdoor AC unit to check for loose parts and clean the inside with a hose and soft-bristled brush.

If you continue to hear unsettling noises, shut off your air conditioning unit right away to prevent further damage and call a professional immediately.

Curious about what the sound coming from your air conditioner means? Take a look at the seven most common AC noises and what they could mean.

1. A Buzzing Noise: A Multitude of Possibilities

If you hear a buzzing sound coming from your outdoor unit, several possible issues could be present:

  • Loose or broken parts
  • Refrigerant leaks
  • Loose or failing outdoor fan motor
  • Loose fan blades
  • Copper lines rubbing against something
  • Dirty condenser coil
  • Out of balance or a failing blower
  • Expired air filter

If you notice your ac unit is running outside, but your thermostat is creeping up, the problem is most likely a refrigerant leak. This could also cause other noises, depending on how severe the leak is and where it is located.

2. A Clicking Noise: Electrical Issues Or Defective Thermostat

It’s normal to hear a clicking sound as your HVAC system powers on and off throughout the day. But if you hear constant clicking, you’re looking at an electrical problem with one of the electrical components within your cooling system.

Clicking noises could also indicate a defective or failing thermostat. It’s important to quickly address these issues before developing into a costly repair and uncomfortable temperature in your home.

AC Making Strange Noises?

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3. A Clanking Or Banging Sound: Unbalanced Blower Or Loose Part

Loud banging noises coming from your outdoor unit usually signal a loose or broken part, like a piston pin, a crankshaft, or a connecting rod.

Your HVAC unit could also have an unbalanced blower that needs to be aligned or requires a compressor replacement. Call a professional right away for HVAC service and to prevent serious issues.

4. A Squealing Noise: Motor Or Blower Problems

Squeals, squeaks, and rattles transmitted through your duct system indicate blower and fan issues. Indoor blower motors and outdoor fan motors make loud squealing noises when they are going bad.

The blower wheel and its housing will also make a squealing noise as they malfunction. For some units, this is normal upon start-up. Homeowners should identify whether it’s a typical sound coming from the unit or if it’s something new, which indicates a developing problem.

5. A Hissing Noise: Leak Or Valve Issues

An unusual hissing noise coming from your AC could indicate the following problems:

  • A Duct Leak
  • Ill-Fitting Air Filter
  • Bad Expansion Valve

However, hissing sounds typically indicate a refrigerant leak.

During routine operation, refrigerant runs in a contained loop within your AC system. Over time, the thin copper coil and lines can form leaks, allowing essential refrigerants to escape.

Because the pressure inside the copper tubing is high, escaping refrigerant makes a hissing noise, much like air escaping a balloon.

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6. A Rattling Noise: Debris, An Aging Unit Or Loose Fan

A chattering or rattling sound can mean twigs, leaves, and other outdoor debris have clogged your system. Also could indicate that your AC unit is starting to break down, causing loose parts.

The electrical contractor within your HVAC system can also make a rattling or clattering sound, which can cause damage to other parts of your unit, like the compressor, if left unchecked.

Another culprit could be a loose fan. The first line of defense against rattling poses is to check for loose screws or bolts in the unit’s casing, clean condenser coils, and change your indoor air filters.

7. A Screeching Noise: Blower Malfunction

Screeching, which sounds like metal grinding on metal, is typically caused by one of several issues. The cause behind the noise depends on the location where you hear it.

If it’s coming from the outside unit, you could be facing a faulty fan motor or a bad compressor.

If the loud screeching sound comes from indoors, then the problem is most likely the blower fan motor. The blower fan is responsible for drawing in warm air within your home to be cooled and returned.

Over time, the bearings in the fan motor can give out, or the fan belt can become worn, causing a screeching or squealing noise.

Quiet Your Noisy Air Conditioner Today

Strange noises around your home can be unsettling and morph into costly, unplanned repairs. It’s important to call professionals right away for air conditioning repair services.

You should schedule routine HVAC maintenance to prevent issues from developing within your air conditioning unit. Without proper maintenance, your cooling unit will deteriorate quickly and need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

The HVAC technicians at R&T Services have been serving the air conditioning units of Billings for over 30 years. We take pride in our professional knowledge and high-quality services.

Contact us today to quiet your AC system and bring peace back to your home.

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Don’t wait for summer to hit before you fix your AC. Our team is here to help today!

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Why is my air conditioner not working?

Your AC not working could mean low refrigerant, faulty wiring, or a frozen condenser coil.

Why does my AC sound like a helicopter?

A whirring, helicopter-like sound indicates an issue with your indoor or outdoor system and needs to be addressed by a professional.

Can air conditioners explode?

Air conditioners rarely explode, but they can overheat and catch fire if not regularly tuned-up.