To keep noise levels in homes and commercial buildings low, modern air conditioning systems incorporate sound-dampening technology and two-stage compressors. So when you start hearing odd or loud sounds coming from your air conditioner, take note. Ignoring these unfamiliar sounds can allow minor problems to get out of hand, resulting in extensive and costly repairs down the line.
Our trusted cooling and heating systems technicians talk about various noises your air conditioner can make and the meaning behind them.
It is normal for an air conditioning system in good condition to emit a soft humming noise. But once it becomes a louder grumbling noise, it could signal a host of maintenance issues. One of the most prevalent causes is loose parts. Along with refrigerant piping, loose parts produce vibration — thus, the sound. It is not a serious problem most of the time, but that does not mean you should neglect it. Like other more evident issues, the longer you leave a humming noise unchecked, the bigger the problem could be in the future.
Another possible cause is the motor. To fix this issue, all you need to do is lubricate the component. Coils that are bent can also produce humming noises. Fortunately, a fin comb can easily resolve this. Just insert the bent coil fins between the teeth of the comb and then gently slide to get it straightened. Include these steps in your maintenance checklist at the beginning of each summer.
If your condenser is making buzzing noises, it could mean different things. Loose fan blades and fan motors are an all-too-common culprit. It could also indicate that leaves, twigs or debris are stuck in the indoor or outdoor unit. A soft buzzing sound could also indicate that it is time to change the air filter, the blower might be unbalanced or going bad, or the condenser coil is in need of replacement. A lot of electrical problems, such as copper lines chafing against something, also produce buzzing noises in air conditioners. To confirm the problem at hand, call a repair technician near you.
A clicking noise is expected at the startup and shutdown of any cooling equipment. But if the sound that you are hearing is either constant or fast-paced, then you might be dealing with a whole lot more. Depending on the seriousness of the issue, you might need the help of a professional technician to conduct some repairs.
If your outside unit is generating odd sounds while it is running, listen to determine if the clicking gets faster and closer together as the system powers on. If this is the case, there is likely a small blockage in the unit’s fan and all you will have to do is remove it. Once the obstruction has been removed, you can continue to run your air conditioning system. If the unit does not start and there are constant clicking noises, then it is an electrical problem. Your compressor or thermostat could be faulty. Either way, it needs to be fixed before you can operate your air conditioner efficiently again.
Is your outside unit producing loud screeching noises when you switch it on? If the sound resembles metal on metal, switch it off immediately. Screeching noises like this often mean the fan motor bearings — which allow the armature to move freely, without causing friction — are due for replacement soon. Another possibility is that you have a refrigerant leak, which not only forces your system to work harder and longer, increasing your energy bills, but is hazardous to you and your family. Needless to say, refrigerant leaks call for immediate professional attention.
A harsh, high-pitched sound from your air conditioner might also be the result of high internal pressure in the compressor. The equipment should shut down on its own to prevent the hazardous situation from escalating. In this situation, you may still run your cooling system but you should not wait long to get the issue addressed.
Bubbling or Hissing Noises
Bubbling or hissing noises from your air conditioner are a big no-no. Like other odd sounds discussed above, hissing can start due to a multitude of reasons. An internal leak in the compressor valve is one. Because it assists with the pressurization of the refrigerant gas, the leaking valve should be repaired by a technician as soon as possible. Otherwise, the problem could get a lot worse.
If the hissing is not caused by the internal valve, it could be the compressor. The light hissing that starts because of high pressure inside the compressor could turn into screeching later on. If the hissing is accompanied by bubbling sounds, you might have a case of leaking refrigerant lines. This occurs when the refrigerant is under too much pressure. Bring in a professional to confirm and resolve this problem.
Note that smaller and shorter hissing sounds are normal operational sound and typically only last for several seconds before disappearing. This type of hissing can be heard from the ductwork or expansion valve at the start of a new cycle.
If your air conditioner is emitting low and continuous whirring sounds, a mechanical complication is most likely the culprit. Most times, the unfamiliar noises can be traced back to defective bearings in the fan motors, a broken belt or a faulty fan in the indoor or outdoor unit. When the blades start to come loose or the fan starts to fall apart, whirring noises occur. However, the issue is not always a defective part. There are instances where debris trapped in the unit causes rapid blade-like noise.
Contact Us for All Your Heating & Air Conditioning Needs!
Acker Heating & Cooling is a leading residential and commercial HVAC contractor in the greater Athens area. Whether you need a tune-up and safety check, air duct sealing and indoor air quality solutions, or system replacement or installation, our top-rated technicians have got you covered. Give us a call at (706) 425-8774 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.