Strange sounds coming from any appliance in your home can be alarming. When odd noises are coming from your air conditioner, your cooling system is likely experiencing some problems. Knowing what may be causing the screeching, rattling, or other unusual sounds from your AC can help you troubleshoot the problem—or know when it’s time to call for repair service.
Here’s a look at some of the most common noises ACs make, what they mean, and when to call an HVAC contractor for repair service.
6 Unusual Air Conditioner Noises & What They Mean
1. Grinding Noises
Grinding noises that sound like metal rubbing against metal typically indicate that:
- A component is loose, damaged, or worn out.
- At least one part needs to be replaced.
Since it’s difficult to know which part—or parts—may be causing the grinding noises, it’s best to contact an AC expert to inspect your system and making the proper repairs.
If you ignore this problem and let the loose or damaged components continue grinding as you run your air conditioner, they can damage surrounding parts. And that can increase the risk of system failures. It may even result in the need for early AC replacement.
2. Squeaking or Squealing
High-pitched squealing noises are most commonly associated with a belt in the fan assembly that’s past its prime. Less often, squeaking or squealing can be a red flag of problems with the fan bearings.
While these issues should be repaired promptly, they’re not an emergency. In other words, you won’t have to shut off your system or schedule emergency AC repair if your system starts squeaking or squealing.
3. Gurgling or Hissing Noises
Hissing or bubbling noises usually mean a problem with the refrigerant lines in your home’s AC system. Commonly, this will be a refrigerant leak that must be taken care of by a professional as soon as possible. That’s because refrigerant leaks often lead to AC system freezing or frost formation on the evaporator coils. And these issues can trigger complete system failures.
4. High-Pitched Screaming
Unlike a squeak or squeal, a loud screaming noise tends to indicate a more serious problem. This sound most commonly comes from the outdoor unit, which houses the condenser and the AC compressor.
Often, the screaming noise is due to excessive pressure building in the compressor unit. This is potentially very dangerous and should be repaired ASAP. If you notice this noise, shut your AC off and immediately make a call for emergency air conditioner repair service.
5. Repetitive Tapping
Fast-paced tapping or clicking noises from the outdoor AC unit usually mean debris has been caught in the fan. Sticks, leaves, bits of paper, and other debris can produce this noise. This isn’t an emergency, but you’ll need an expert’s help to take apart the unit, locate all of the debris, and remove it.
6. Electrical Clicking
Clicking noises, especially when heard indoors as your system cycles on or off, are usually related to serious electrical problems with components like:
- The thermostat
- An electrical connection
- The AC wiring
Turn off your AC system and call for repair service whenever you hear this type of clicking.
Avoid AC Noises with Seasonal Air Conditioner Maintenance
Many AC noises and problems can be avoided entirely with regular system maintenance. These AC tune-ups include:
- Compressor and condenser checks
- Refrigerant inspections
- Electrical connection checks
- Air filter changes
- Fan assembly calibrations
- And much more
In other words, an annual AC tune-up offers your system all it needs to stay quiet, efficient, and fully functional.
Whether you need AC repairs to stop the noises coming from your system and fix the underlying issues causing them—or you’re ready to schedule AC maintenance service, Short Pump Heating & Air has you covered!
Call (804) 364-9040 or contact us online now to schedule service anywhere in the Short Pump or Richmond, VA, area!