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Why Is My Air Conditioner Making Noise?

woman holding ear plugs

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Richmond’s summers are so hot and humid that we wouldn’t blame anyone for having their cooling system running around the clock. You deserve to be comfortable in your home and a reliable HVAC system can make all the difference. When things go wrong, though, it can be disheartening. If you’ve suddenly been wondering why your air conditioner is making noise, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll discuss some of the common problems, and how you can fix them!

Much like a mechanic will recognize certain problems just by the sounds your vehicle is making, an HVAC technician knows all about noisy air conditioners. Typically, cooling systems might get louder with age, but any sudden or noticeable changes need to be investigated.

Hissing

Do not ignore a hissing sound coming from your AC unit. While it could be caused by an internal valve leak, compressor issues, or even faulty ductwork, hissing is usually a sign that refrigerant is leaking. This is not a problem you should ignore for any length of time and should be handled by experienced and qualified professionals.

When your AC unit starts leaking refrigerant, it can put everyone in your home at risk. If anyone experiences headaches, difficulty breathing, coughing, nausea/vomiting, and even skin and eye irritation, call your doctor. Refrigerant poisoning is a serious and real condition that may require medical treatment.

Grinding

No one wants to hear their air conditioner making a grinding noise. Not only is it a highly unpleasant sound, but it also feels the most ominous. If you’ve heard anything like that, one of the most probable causes is a fan motor issue.

ac fan blades

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Without proper maintenance, several problems can occur. Fan blades can get dirty and grimy, making it difficult for them to move freely without rubbing against the unit casing. Also, the fan blades need to be lubricated. If it’s been too long since it was applied, it could result in the grinding sound.

 

 

 

 

Rattling

Another disconcerting sound is rattling. The big fear, of course, is that something has broken loose inside the HVAC unit. The reality, of course, is that it’s probably true. The severity of the situation, however, will need to be determined by a technician. The solution to the problem could be as simple as tightening any bolts and screws that have loosened.

Another potential reason for rattling is that some sort of debris has fallen into your outdoor unit. Branches, leaves, and even small stones can become trapped inside your air conditioner. A professional can remove any foreign objects, but it’s important to regularly clear the area around your exterior HVAC component to prevent these types of issues.

Popping

Aside from making popcorn, no one wants to hear a popping sound inside of their home. If it seems like it’s coming from your air conditioner, it’s possible (and preferable) that the noise is caused by aging ductwork or some type of obstruction.

outdoor air conditioner unit

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If the sound seems to be coming from your outdoor HVAC unit, though, you should turn your system off immediately. It could be a sign that the compressor or motor is sucking up liquid refrigerant or has loose wires, both of which can cause very expensive damage.

 

 

 

Screeching

We all love the sounds of nails on a chalkboard, right? Wrong! So, if you hear screeching sounds coming from your outdoor AC unit, you’re probably pretty eager to get that problem fixed as soon as possible. While it could be caused by any number of things, two possibilities are more common.

The first is that your condenser’s fan motor is faulty. That fan is very large, so if it starts to fail, you will definitely hear it. Similarly if the motor inside your compressor is wearing out, it might also create a squealing or screeching sound.

Air Conditioner Repair in Richmond

While this list is simplified, we’ve discussed some of the reasons your air conditioner is making noise. To truly get to the root of the problem, it’s best to call in an experienced professional. Your cooling system is an important (and expensive) part of your home, so it’s important to leave repairs to those who are qualified.

The technicians at W.G. Speeks are NATE certified and can service your air conditioner, perform preventative, regular maintenance, and even offer noise-reduction suggestions for older HVAC units. We’ve been proudly helping homeowners in the Greater Richmond Region stay cool during the hot Virginia summers for more than 75 years, and we’d be honored to serve you. Take advantage of our free, no-risk consultation and give us a call today. We’re here to help!