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Is Your AC Unit Making Strange Noises? Find Out Why

Close up view of the fan on an air conditioner unit

Your air conditioner is responsible for keeping your home cool and comfortable, but it should do so relatively quietly. When your AC starts to make strange noises, this can be a cause for alarm. Not only are unusual sounds annoying to listen to, but they can also signal that something is wrong with your unit. To help you understand the different types of noises that an air conditioner can make and what each of these noises mean, our HVAC experts at Maeser Master Services have put together this guide. We cover some of the most common AC sounds you’ll encounter and outline steps you can take to remedy the problem.

Common Air Conditioning Noises & How To Fix Them

1. Banging or Clanking

A banging or clanking noise typically indicates a loose or broken part inside the AC unit. This could be caused by various components, such as a connecting rod, piston pin, or crankshaft in the compressor. Banging sounds could also mean that the indoor blower or outdoor fan is unbalanced.

Since clanking sounds could be caused by loose parts, you don’t want those parts to knock into others and cause further damage, so the first thing you should do when you hear banging sounds is turn off your AC. Once your air conditioner is turned off, you can inspect your unit for loose parts and tighten any screws or bolts that may have come loose. If you can’t determine what component is loose or damaged, you should call a professional HVAC technician.

2. Buzzing

Buzzing sounds are certainly irritating to listen to, and they can be even more frustrating to diagnose, as this sound can be caused by several issues. Your AC might be buzzing due to loose parts, debris in either the indoor or outdoor unit, or the fan blades being out of balance. It could also indicate electrical problems such as faulty wiring or an issue with the motor.

To stop your AC from buzzing, you should inspect the unit for any visible debris or loose parts and clean or tighten as necessary. If the noise continues, you be dealing with electrical problems. In this case, turn off the unit and contact our team. Electrical or wiring problems can be dangerous to fix without the proper tools and experience, so you should always leave these to the professionals. We can ensure electrical issues are addressed safely and correctly.

3. Hissing

Refrigerant leaks are the most common culprit behind hissing sounds, as small leaks can lead to air being released, creating the sound. Refrigerant is vital for the cooling process, and a leak can lead to reduced efficiency and increased energy bills, so it’s important to address this issue quickly. However, refrigerant is a dangerous substance, so you will need to contact a knowledgeable HVAC company to address the leak.

4. Clicking

While a clicking sound when your AC turns on or off is normal, frequent clicking is a problem. Continuous clicking sounds can indicate they your AC is short-cycling or it can be a sign of a failing thermostat or an electrical problem with the system.

If your AC is clicking, first check your thermostat to ensure it’s set correctly and test to see if it’s working. You can do this by adjusting the thermostat setting a few degrees and seeing if the air conditioner responds accordingly. If the thermostat is dead, make sure to replace the batteries. If these DIY fixes don’t solve the problem, reach out to a professional for a more thorough inspection and diagnosis.

5. Screeching or Squealing

Screeching noises can be some of the worst AC noises to listen to. Screeching or squealing noises often indicate issues with the fan motor or the blower wheel, such as the motor bearings being worn out or a fan belt that is misaligned or needs lubrication.

To make the screeching sounds stop, you should turn off your unit and check the fan and blower wheel for any signs of visual damage. If there are no signs of damage, you can use a motor or spray lubricant on the motor bearings. If there are signs of damage or if the problem persists, reach out to our team for repairs.

6. Rattling

Rattling sounds are similar to banging sounds, in that they are usually caused by loose parts or debris in the unit. Rattling tends to be caused by smaller components coming loose, such as screws or bolts. Fortunately, these issues can often be fixed with DIY methods. You’ll need to inspect your unit for any loose parts and tighten them accordingly. You should also look for any debris and clean that out of the unit. If the rattling continues after doing so, there could be a hidden issue, so you’ll need to contact a professional to get to the root of the problem.

Call Maeser for Expert AC Repairs

Unusual AC noises can be alarming, but understanding what they mean can help you address the issues promptly. When DIY fixes aren’t cutting it, turn to Maeser Master Services. We provide a full range of cooling services in Louisville, KY, and the surrounding areas, including Southern Indiana. Our highly trained HVAC technicians provide same-day services so that your AC will be fixed to your satisfaction in hours, not days.

Contact Maeser today to schedule AC repairs in Louisville, Shelbyville, Elizabethtown, or the surrounding areas.

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