Air conditioners are far from silent while they are operating. Usually the noise fades into the background after a few minutes. You may hear the hum of the fan motor, the rush of the air as the system starts, and the occasional pinging or banging as air ducts expand and contract with temperature changes. Outside, you may hear the condenser unit start the compressor and fan each cycle. But if you hear sounds that are out of the ordinary or noises that suddenly become louder, it may be time to call an HVAC professional.
Abnormal Air Conditioning Noises and Their Causes
Not every unusual noise is a sign of a problem, but it is important to investigate each to prevent the need for costly repairs in the future. Here are some of the most common air conditioner noises and their possible causes:
- Humming or buzzing – In most cases, humming will be caused by vibration of loose components, like access cover screws, fan motor or compressor mounts, or improperly secured refrigerant lines. Though loose parts are not an immediate concern, they could lead to damage in the future. Humming could also be caused by a fan motor or the compressor failing to start due to a damaged relay, start capacitor, or a problem with the motor itself.
- Clicking – Clicking while the system is on may indicate something is stuck in the blower fan, or if the sound is coming from the outdoor unit, there may debris in the condenser fan. If the system is off, repeated clicking may be a sign of a faulty relay or contactor as the compressor or fan try to start.
- Rattling – Rattling is typically a sign of loose components, but if it is coming from the outdoor unit, there may be twigs, leaves, or debris in the fan blades, or the blades may be loose or damaged.
- Tapping – Fast tapping or clicking noises may indicate that the belt for the blower fan is damaged and may break soon.
- Squealing or screaming – A blower fan belt may cause squealing if it is loose and slipping on the pulleys. Squealing or screaming sounds may also indicate bearing failures in a fan motor, or if the sound is coming from the outdoor unit, a compressor failure.
- Gurgling noises – A partially clogged condensate drain may cause gurgling or bubbling noises and should be addressed quickly to avoid water leaks or a system shutdown when the float switch is triggered.
While some noises can be repaired by simple things like shutting the power off and tightening loose fasteners or removing debris from a fan, most will require professional assistance.
Air Conditioner Repair in Cleveland
If your air conditioner is making odd noises, call our team at P.K. Wadsworth. We offer fast, professional air conditioning repairs throughout the Greater Cleveland area.