Air Conditioner Noises To Be Aware Of

image of homeowner listening to air conditioner making unusual noise

Air conditioners are never completely quiet. New units can still produce some sounds typical for their daily operation, so you do not need to fret over them. However, there are some instances when the noise from your air conditioner points to a bigger problem. An air conditioner making noise could mean that a few components in your system are not working correctly. If this is the case, it needs to be checked by a professional HVAC technician immediately because your air conditioner might not be functioning as well as it should.

As with all machines, air conditioner problems can quickly escalate into more complicated and more expensive ones. Therefore, call an HVAC company, like Townsend Energy, as soon as you have a problematic air conditioner.

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What Air Conditioner Noises Should I Be Aware Of?

Modern air conditioning systems operate at a quieter level than older ones. The advances in HVAC equip air conditioners with noise-dampening technology and variable speed compressors. This way, they only emit a noise level of 55 dB or less. If you hear one or more of these noises from your air conditioner, it is likely experiencing a problem:

AC Unit Is Buzzing

image of an air conditioner fan that is making noise

A buzzing air conditioner probably has an electrical problem, or the condenser’s fan is loose or out of balance. The buzzing you hear could also be caused by other loose parts, a faulty outdoor fan motor, or clogged condenser coils. An AC refrigerant leak also produces a distinct buzzing sound.

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Humming Coming From A/C System

An air conditioner that hums could have a damaged contactor relay switch. The thermostat signals for this component to switch on the condenser. Therefore, the AC might not turn on if this component is defective. This electrical issue should always be left in the hands of a reliable HVAC contractor. Another cause of the humming sound from your system is a faulty fan motor.

Air Conditioner Clicking


A clicking sound from your air conditioning can cause confusion because it sounds like your AC is just starting or ending its cooling cycle. However, if the clicks are continuous and frequent, check your thermostat. It might be malfunctioning and needs to be replaced. Make sure to call a licensed cooling expert to assist you with this task.

Air Conditioning Screeching Sound

A screeching sound from your damaged air conditioner is most likely due to a faulty condenser fan motor. The fan in the outdoor unit is responsible for removing the heat from the refrigerant. If it gets damaged, it won’t be able to cool your home and function as it should. Another culprit behind a screeching sound is a damaged fan motor. This component helps eliminate heat and humidity inside your house and forces the air to the return ducts. It also helps circulate the conditioned air throughout your home using the air vents. Other possible causes include a bad fan belt and defective fan motor bearings. Contact an HVAC technician right away if you hear screeches or squeals from your AC.

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Air Conditioner Clanking

Clanking sounds are made when a loose metal part hits another metal component in your air conditioner. For instance, the outdoor fan blades might be unbalanced or loose, hitting other components. When this happens, it might need to be replaced. Call a licensed professional right away before the problem escalates into a bigger one. A metal component hitting another metal part will only cause more damages to your equipment, and you might end up requiring an expensive repair or replacement job.

A/C Unit Whistling

image of an hvac contractor checking ac refrigerant levels

A high-pitched whistling noise that makes it seem like your air conditioner is screaming is another thing to be wary of. This is usually an indication that you have a highly pressurized compressor or the AC has a coolant leak. Switch off your AC and call a trained HVAC professional right away.

Cooling System Is Banging

Banging usually points to a damaged compressor. This is a relatively common sound if you have an old air conditioner. After all, its parts tend to come loose or unfastened with regular use and age. Another reason could be a broken AC component, such as the crankshaft, piston pin, or connecting rod. It could also be an imbalanced indoor blower. These parts are located in the compressor, so you likely need to get them replaced by a professional.

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Whirring Sound From Your AC

If it sounds like a drone or a helicopter is inside your air conditioner, you might have a mechanical problem in your hands. The culprits behind these whirring sounds could be a loose fan blade, a malfunctioning fan belt, a damaged fan, or a faulty blower fan. The best-case scenario would be that debris had somehow made its way inside the outdoor fan unit or indoor blower fan. If you hear something that sounds like a piece of paper hitting a fan, consider it a warning, so call for professional assistance immediately.


Rattling Coming From Air Conditioner

The rattling coming from your AC can be because there is loose debris inside the condenser. Twigs, clumps of dirt, or leaves might have fallen into the outdoor unit. This is easy to fix as all you need to do is open the condenser and remove all debris. If the unit is clean, but the rattling noise is still present, the problem could be the electrical contractor. Call a professional to fix it and prevent more damage.

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Air conditioners go through rigorous tests to ensure their quality. Therefore, a unit that is installed correctly and receives regular HVAC maintenance should last you 15 years or more. However, just like any other machine, time will catch up with it, and it won’t function as well as it used to. Get in touch with your local, trusted HVAC technician to help you with any problems your air conditioning unit might have. They can help determine the problem and find the correct solution.

Call Townsend Energy For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

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Rest assured, Townsend Energy has the most competitive and highly affordable HVAC services in the area. We can help improve your home’s energy efficiency, home comfort, and cost-effectiveness through our maintenance services. If you need to get your HVAC repaired or replaced, we can also recommend the best possible solution for your home and budget. All our work comes with a guarantee because your satisfaction is our priority. Schedule a service appointment with Townsend Energy today and receive a free, in-home estimate.

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