Cleveland HVAC Blog

Hearing Bizarre Noises From the A/C? Sounds and What They May Mean

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Tue, May 27, 2014 @ 08:30 AM

woman hearing noisesA/C noises may or may not accompany a noticeable decrease in cooling output right away. Whether you noticed unusual noises first, irregular cooling or both simultaneously, use this guide to see if the issue is something you can troubleshoot or if it's a job for the pros.

Locating the Noise

It's important to first identify the location of the A/C noises you're hearing. This can be a little tricky since noises easily transmit to many of the rooms of the home via hollow air ducts. Listen for noises at the indoor and outdoor air handling units (AHUs), and check for low air pressure and noises at each air supply outlet from room to room.

In a split system A/C, the outside cabinet is typically installed on a concrete slab or preformed pad next to the home’s foundation. The indoor AHU may be located in a utility closet, basement or attic space.

Noises and A/C Issues

Following are A/C components and common noises:

  • Air filter Check the air filter first. A clogged filter creates all kinds of strange noises in the system.
  • Outdoor cabinet - The compressor is located in the outdoor cabinet, along with the outdoor fan , condenser coil and various electronics. A scraping, clanking or banging noise indicates a faulty or failing compressor or a failing/mis-aligned fan. Turn off the A/C and call an A/C technician.
  • Indoor AHU - Squealing and/or grinding noises are signs of fan motor problems, such as worn bearings. If the grinding isn’t too bad, you may try oiling the motor yourself, but only if you're handy with tools. A hissing noise indicates a leak in the coils or refrigerant lines. If the indoor evaporator coil ever ices up, don't use tools to chip away or dislodge the ice. A coil leak is quite an expensive repair.
  • Ductwork - Rattling and clamoring noises from the air ducts are signs of loose duct seams and joints. Inspect the air ducts and wrap fallen and loose connections with metal tape.

For immediate assistance with A/C noises or other HVAC matters in your greater Cleveland home, contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling.

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Paul WadsworthPaul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.

Topics: air conditioning units, air filter, duct work, A/C noises

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