Air Conditioner Noises: What is Your System Trying To Say To You?

When your air conditioner turns on, does it sound like it’s trying to get your attention? Banging, hissing, clicking and other types of sounds are often signs of your system saying, “Something’s wrong with me!” Today we’re going to help you interpret those sounds and talk about some of the most common air conditioner noises and what they mean for your system!

Some air conditioner noises are normal

Before you get too worried about your air conditioner, remember that you system will make a certain degree of noise every time that it’s operating. When everything is working properly, you’ll hear the sound of your system powering on and a gentle and consistent hum throughout every cooling cycle. However, if your air conditioner grows progressively louder as it operates, or if it’s making strange noises that you’ve never heard before, it’s likely an indication of a problem (see below).

Common problematic air conditioner noises and what they mean

  • Squealing, thumping or clicking noises when turning on and off. If you’re hearing these noises when your system starts up and powers down, it’s likely due to a problem with your air conditioner’s fan or capacitor. Squealing and thumping is often the result of a worn out, loose or dirty fan, while clicking is a sign that your capacitor is on the fritz.
  • Buzzing noises. Buzzing noises are almost always an indication of an electrical problem with your system, particularly the electrical relays. These issues can be dangerous, because they can result in fire hazards.
  • Grinding noises. When any of your system’s moving parts suffer from dirt buildup or lack of lubrication, they can undergo excess stress that causes them to make grinding noises.
  • Knocking or rattling noises. Over time, some of your system’s nuts and bolts can become loose and cause some of your air conditioner’s parts to begin to rattle around. If the rattling sounds like a loud vibration, it could also be a sign that your fan or one of its blades was thrown off balance.
  • Hissing noises. Hissing noises are almost always the result of a leak somewhere in your refrigerant lines or your ductwork.

Contact Cabrillo whenever you hear air conditioner noises

If you’re hearing any of the noises above, or any other strange noises coming from your air conditioner, call Cabrillo as soon as you can. Air conditioner noises are never a good thing, and the sooner you can get them taken care of, the better.

If you have any questions about air conditioner noises, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Cabrillo, your Bay Area plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor.