Even the best air conditioners aren’t completely silent, and that’s okay! Homeowners gladly trade a little noise for efficient cooling. But some air conditioner sounds aren’t a sign of normal operation. Unfortunately, certain air conditioner noises are actually evidence of a problem.

To determine why your air conditioner is making noise, it’s important to accurately describe what you’re hearing to a technician. We’ve provided a few unpleasant noises you may hear coming from your AC, as well as where they might be coming from.

1. Screeching or Squealing

These grating, high-pitched sounds may appear during start-up. They’re often caused by friction between two components and nearby machinery:

  • Fan or blower motor: A frayed belt or damaged bearings will produce this air conditioner sound as the fan starts to turn.
  • Compressor: This component condenses your AC’s refrigerant. Like the fan, the compressor’s motor belt could rub against other machinery.

Clanking or Banging

Loud and metallic, it’s safe to assume something is wrong when you hear one of these noises. The most likely culprit is one of the many screws, rods, pins or crankshafts holding your air conditioner together. Moving components like the compressor are the most vulnerable.

Sometimes tightening visible bolts and screws will take care of the noise. If they’ve broken off completely, however, you’ll want to figure out the specifics of where. Some components like the compressor are airtight, leaving you stuck with an annoying racket until the compressor is replaced.

Thrumming or Flapping

Do you hear a thin, repetitive rattle? These noises are similar to the distinct sound of a playing card wedged into a bike tire. When something becomes lodged against the blower motor’s blades, you’ll hear it every time the fan contacts the debris. Large objects are particularly annoying since they produce more noise.

This isn’t always serious, but the added strain on your fan’s motor can add up. Keep your air conditioner clean of dirt and other foreign objects to ensure it has a long, healthy life span.

Hissing or Bubbling

Keep in mind that some hissing sounds are a normal byproduct of the cooling process. You should only hear hissing for a couple of seconds as the refrigerant expands. If the noise persists or is accompanied by a bubbling sound, your air conditioner may have sprung a leak. Refrigerant is under high pressure and will squeeze out of the smallest cracks.

As your air conditioner ages, cracks and small leaks are more likely. Past a certain point, you’re better off replacing it for a new air conditioner.

Humming or Buzzing

A soft, constant hum isn’t always something to worry about. These low, whirring sounds may simply be airflow or the electric current. To verify if these noises are pointing to a problem, you should try to narrow down where the sound is coming from as well as when you most often hear it.

Sometimes it becomes louder or starts making a buzzing noise. This can be an electrical problem such as frayed wiring or a damaged circuit breaker. Keep in mind that these concerns may be hazardous, so don’t hesitate to reach out for professional assistance.

Clicking or Ticking

An air conditioner pulsating sound is quite common when the unit starts up for a cooling cycle. But when the clicking becomes incessant or random, an electrical component may have malfunctioned.

Here’s What You Can Do

If your air conditioner makes any of the above sounds, talk to a local HVAC technician about the problem. A well-trained professional can then identify the source of the sound and recommend repairs or replacement. With this expert help, your air conditioner will run quietly and efficiently.

At Lakeside Heating & Air Conditioning, our technicians have years of experience recognizing unpleasant AC sounds and providing effective solutions. Our support is fast and affordable, so please reach out if you’re tired of the noise. We’re available at 303-412-8015. Give us a call today!