A modern air conditioner (AC) should operate quietly while creating a healthier, more comfortable living environment. If your AC suddenly starts causing a disturbance, it often indicates a serious problem that requires swift attention. Though you’ll need a professional HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) technician to diagnose the issue, you should still have a good idea of what these sounds could mean. Here are some of the most common noises air conditioners make and their implications.
What Certain AC Sounds Indicate
Loud banging usually signifies that a component inside the AC condenser (that’s the part of your air conditioner that sits outside) has become loose or broken. The first thing to do is to shut off the power to your AC to prevent any more damage.
The problematic component could simply be something that needs tightening down, again, or it could also be something bigger, such as a loose fan blade assembly that is permitting the fan to hit the housing or even the coil. Depending on the amount of damage done, repair costs could be substantial, especially if the coil or compressor is involved.
2. Buzzing and Humming
There are many potential causes behind a buzzing or humming AC unit. For example, the fan blades or blower unit could be out of balance. However, in most cases, the noise signals an electrical issue with the wiring, capacitor, fan motor, compressor or relay switch. Since AC systems generally run on a 240 volt power source and have capacitors installed, these particular electrical problems can be hazardous. It is highly recommended that you enlist the help of a licensed HVAC technician to troubleshoot these problems. They know the risks and can safely diagnose and repair your system.
It’s normal to hear a slight click when the AC switches on as your thermostat activates a relay to send high voltage to the blower and compressor. However, this noise shouldn’t continue through the entire cooling cycle. If it’s coming from the outdoor condenser unit or indoor air handler, the electrical control within that part of your cooling system may be having a problem and needs to be diagnosed. If you notice a constant clicking sound from your thermostat, then it could be failing. These various clicking sounds can also be a symptom of a bigger problem, but your HVAC technician will be able to determine that for you.
A high-pitched hissing sound warrants an immediate system shutdown. This noise typically means there’s something wrong with the compressor or coil such as leaking refrigerant. Allowing the AC unit to keep running could lead to irreparable damage to the compressor and complete loss of the refrigerant, both of which can be very expensive to replace. While modern refrigerants are nontoxic, permitting leaks to continue will only cost you more money when the system finally fails. Your AC should never leak refrigerant, and you should not be “topping off” the refrigerant level every year or two like we do with the motor oil in our cars.
If your AC makes concerning noises, trust the pros at Jon’s Plumbing & Heating to help you find a quick and cost-effective solution. Serving residents throughout Knox County, OH, for over 20 years, we are qualified to handle all your heating and cooling needs. We have a highly-rated team of Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Contractors® that can properly assess your system and make the necessary repairs to restore it to peak performance. Call (740) 520-2312 to schedule an appointment, or visit us online for more information on our services.