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July 31, 2018
Have you ever had a problem with your car and had to describe it to a mechanic — and the best way you could think to describe it was to mimic whatever buzzing, clanking, or revving sound it was making? It’s a frustrating and somewhat embarrassing experience, to be sure. We often see the same scenario with homeowners and their air conditioners.
AC units can make all sorts of noises when something goes awry, and it’s not always easy to pinpoint the root cause. So you don’t have to go through the dreaded experience of imitating strange buzzing and rattling sounds when you’re on the phone with your local HVAC specialist, we’ve compiled a list of the most common AC unit noises and what they might mean.
It’s normal to hear a brief clicking sound when an AC unit turns on or off. However, if you notice that the clicking is louder than normal or that it persists while the AC unit is on, you know there’s a problem. This is usually a sign of an electrical issue such as a defective relay or a failing thermostat.
Buzzing can have all sorts of causes ranging from simple to very serious. It could be loose parts, debris in the outside unit, dirty condenser coils, or a dirty air filter. Or it could be something more serious, like a failing fan motor, an off-balance blower, or a refrigerant leak.
Rattling is a telltale sign of loose parts and is especially common in older AC units. It could also be a sign of debris in the outside unit or, worse, a deteriorating motor in the compressor.
Banging or thudding
Loud banging or thudding is another sure sign of a loose or broken part. It may be something inside the compressor, such as the the connecting rod, crankshaft, or piston pin; or it could be a problem with the blower assembly or motor. If you hear this type of noise coming from your AC unit, you should turn off your AC system immediately.
Squealing is sometimes normal upon startup with certain AC units, but if the sound is louder than normal or just recently started, you likely have an AC problem on your hands. Squealing is usually a sign that either the outdoor fan motor or the indoor blower motor is failing. It could also indicate that there’s a problem with the blower wheel and housing.
Let Russell’s Diagnose Your AC Issues
Are you a Virginia or North Carolina homeowner who is having trouble with your air conditioner? Wherever you are in the Chesapeake, VA area, you can rely on the HVAC specialists at Russell’s Heating & Cooling to diagnose your noisy AC system. We’re committed to offering outstanding customer service and will help you determine the best route for your AC — whether that’s repair or replacement. We also offer convenient maintenance plans to help you prevent these types of problems in the future!