Air conditioners contain mechanical and electronic components that make many different noises while cooling your home. You’re probably accustomed to your system’s sounds and ticks, but some air conditioner noises are signs of potential problems. Read through the following list of common problem noises to see if you can troubleshoot the issue before making a service call.
Hissing or Screaming
The heart of an air conditioner is the compressor located in the outdoor cabinet. This component pumps refrigerant between the evaporator and condenser coils to extract and release heat. If you hear loud hissing or “screaming” from the compressor, there may be a faulty high pressure sensor. This is a potentially dangerous situation that should be handled by your HVAC technician right away.
A squealing noise at the outdoor cabinet or indoor air handler is often a sign of a worn-out blower belt. This problem can generally be avoided with regular preventive maintenance.
Ticking or Clicking
The outdoor cabinet contains a large fan that pulls airflow across the condenser to release heat. If an object becomes lodged inside the fan assembly, you may hear a ticking or clicking noise as the fan blades strike the object. If you’re going to try and remove the object, make sure the air conditioner is turned off at the thermostat and pull out disconnect plug.
Buzzing or Humming
Buzzing or humming noises are generally caused by a failed capacitor or a blower motor. If the air conditioner doesn’t turn on, it’s probably a failed capacitor. If you hear the noise while the system is running, you may have a motor problem. Call your HVAC technician in either case.
Rattling or Clamoring
Though not a specific component of an air conditioner, the air ducts convey cooled airflow to the home. If you hear rattling or clamoring from the vents, loose ducts are the likely culprit. Inspect the air ducts so you’re not sending cooling dollars into the attic or basement. Loose ducts may be wrapped with metal tape.
For more information about air conditioner noises, contact the professionals at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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