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AC TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS: WHEN YOUR AIR CONDITIONER MAKES NOISE

JUL 15, 2017

If your air conditioner makes noise, it could be a sign of some big trouble ahead. In fact, modern air conditioners are quieter than ever, meaning that you should be especially concerned if yours does not sound right. From clanks and screeches to buzzing and more, in this article, we break down some of the most common air conditioner noises and some tips for AC troubleshooting.

SO, YOUR AIR CONDITIONER MAKES NOISE?

BUZZING

Of all the potential ways your air conditioner can make noise, a buzzing may be the most difficult to diagnose because of the sheer number of things that can lead to it. If you want to do a little AC troubleshooting to rule out simple fixes before calling a professional, try installing a fresh air filter, ensuring that your outdoor cabinet (and the indoor one if you have a split air conditioning) are both free of debris. If neither of those AC troubleshooting tips works, call a professional immediately. It may be something as simple as needing a professional to clean the condenser coils, however, they will need to thoroughly inspect your system to rule out issues with the fan motor or refrigerant leaks.

CLANKING

A clanking or banging sound could have a few different causes. It is a likely sign that there is a loose or broken part somewhere in the equipment that needs to be fixed or replaced. Depending on the specific, it may be that you need a compressor replacement. Alternatively, the lack of certain air conditioner noises can also be a cause for concern. One AC troubleshooting technique that can help you figure out if your compressor is to blame is to turn down your thermostat and listen for it to kick on. If you hear a fan running but not the compressor, you definitely have a problem.

Dirty coils or an inappropriate refrigerant level can both contribute to a compressor breaking down. If a homeowner is diligent about making sure that they are covered on both of those fronts, they should assume that their compressor will last 10-12 years. Depending on the type of air conditioner you have, it may make more sense to replace the entire unit rather than the compressor alone.

Another clanking noise could be due to damaged or broken fan blades. If you have been victim to hail storm or intense weather, damage could have been caused by the blades. This can lead to an unbalanced rotation, which can not only make funny noises but lead to damage of other components as well. Be sure to inspect the blades and make repairs as soon as possible. A few dollars spent to replace a damaged blade can save you a lot more money down the road.

SCREECHING

A screeching, squeaking or squealing noise coming through your ductwork is usually a sure sign that an indoor blower motor is going bad. It should be pointed out that it may be your air conditioner makes a noise like this upon startup, but if it is continuous or new, you know that something is not right. Fan motor bearings may be shot (meaning you will need a new fan motor). Stop running that air conditioner immediately and get a technician to come over to diagnose and fix the problem today. Hopefully, the air conditioner is making this noise because of something that is a simple fix. Either way, you will want to make sure that you do not cause further damage by continuing to run the air conditioner.

CLICKING

If your air conditioner makes noise that sounds like clicking, it is typically a result of an electrical component. Constant clicking is certainly not normal, but if you usually hear clicking when electrical components start up or shut down, you do not have much to be alarmed about. Call someone to check out your air conditioner if the clicking sound is new or if it keeps going. A defective control or failing thermostat is a heck of a lot easier (and cheaper) to fix early on before it causes problems in other components of your air conditioner.

HUMMING

Humming is not typically indicative of air conditioner issues, but if the humming is new or if it seems like it is getting worse, you will want to have it checked out sooner rather than later (as a general rule, any time an air conditioner makes noise that is atypical of that unit, you should be suspicious). Humming can be caused by a number of problems, including loose wiring — many times easy fixes if caught early on. The problems typically indicated by the buzzing noise can also fall into humming category, so try the AC troubleshooting tips outlined in that section in this situation as well (check the air filter and make sure cabinets are clear of debris).

If you need help addressing an air conditioner issue outlined in this article, or if your air conditioner makes a noise not described here, give us a call. We offer same-day service and we are available 24 hours a day.