Tuesday, 16 April 2024

3 AC noises and what they mean

3 AC noises and what they mean

Nothing can be more annoying on a hot summer day than hearing unusual noises coming from your air conditioner unit. But before you panic and start to worry that something is wrong with it, take a few minutes to learn what these noises mean. They could indicate that something needs attention soon, or they may just be natural sounds made during normal operation. 

You can visit the blog here to learn more about different noises made during AC operations. However, in this blog post we’re going to look at the three most common air conditioning (AC) noises and explain what might cause them so you know exactly how to best approach any AC issues in your home.

Why do ACs make noises during operation?

Air conditioning (AC) units can create an array of puzzling noises when they are in operation, and understandably the groans, creaks, and rattles can be a bit unnerving. The source of these various sounds actually comes from a combination of different components within the unit. 

On the one hand, ductwork vibrations are often responsible for creating noise that sounds like groaning or rumbling. On the other hand, clanging pipes or clicking relays could be caused due to a malfunctioning fan or compressor within the unit itself. 

What’s more, air leakage from supply or return vents may contribute to humming notes and whistles that go unnoticed when a system isn’t operating at full capacity. 

Fortunately, noise can be further reduced by ensuring AC units are well maintained and inspected periodically by an HVAC technician. 

Common noises from air conditioners and what they mean 

There are several common noises that tend to come from air conditioners, and there’s several things they could indicate about the performance or functionality of your device. By understanding the various signs of trouble – from rattling motors to grinding compressors – you can take measures to ensure that any potential issues are addressed quickly by an experienced contractor.

  1. Humming

The humming sound that comes from an air conditioner is usually a sign of a problem with the compressor motor. The vibration of the compressor’s fan blades coming into contact with dust, debris and other particles can cause them to become unbalanced or loose, leading to this humming noise. Additionally, a faulty capacitor or other electrical issue could be causing the humming.

  1. High-Pitched Squealing

The high-pitched squealing sound that can come from an air conditioner is typically due to a worn fan motor bearing. The fan motor bearings become worn over time and use, causing the fan blades to vibrate and squeak. This sound may be more noticeable when the fan is running at maximum speed. In some cases, it could also be caused by a loose fan belt or other mechanical issue.

  1. Banging

The banging sound that can come from an air conditioner is often a sign of a foreign object, such as a branch or piece of debris, becoming lodged in the fan blades. This causes the blades to vibrate against each other and produce a loud banging noise. It could also be due to damage inflicted on the fan motor itself, which can affect the blades and create a similar sound.

How to diagnose the source of the noise 

If you’re noticing strange noises coming from your AC unit, the best way to determine where the sound is coming from and diagnose the problem is to systematically examine each part of your AC system. Start with the outdoor condenser unit and work your way inside. 

Using a flashlight, inspect the condenser unit for any obstructions like plant debris or rodent carcasses. If nothing is present, listen around the compressor-fan assembly for any humming or buzzing that might indicate an electrical issue or failing fan motor. Next, inspect your evaporator coil in case of clogs or dirt buildup causing restriction in airflow. 

The last step is to check all exposed ductwork for any rattle or vibration indicating a loss of insulation or a faulty component. With mindful inspection, you should be able to identify what exactly is causing those mysterious noises from your AC unit and find solutions to get it running quiet once again!

When to call a professional for help 

AC noises can be very alarming, especially if you’re not familiar with the typical sounds your air conditioner makes. Many times, it just means that something needs to be maintained, adjusted, or cleaned. 

But if the noise persists and becomes louder or more frequent, then it could mean bigger problems and signal that you need to call a professional for help. It is always better to be safe than sorry in these situations and asking an expert technician can save you time and energy down the line. 

It’s important to note that any high-pitched grinding noises or screeching should definitely warrant a call for professional assistance immediately.


When your AC is making strange noises, it’s best to act fast and address the problem promptly so that you can ensure it isn’t causing further damage to your system or costing you money in expensive repair costs. 

Your unit may also be experiencing difficulty due to age, lack of maintenance or incorrect installation. If you have been hearing any strange sounds coming from your AC unit and the associated air ducts, contact your local HVAC specialist for immediate servicing and expert advice on how you can maintain your system throughout its lifetime.


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