air conditioning sounds

7 Unusual Air Conditioning Sounds You Shouldn’t Ignore

Summer will be here before you know it, and you need to make sure your home is equipped to deal with the changing North Carolina weather. With average summer temperatures in the mid to high 80s and record heat waves bringing the thermometers well into the mid-100s, you can be sure you’ll have no shortage of hot days this summer.

Want to make sure you can stay cool and comfortable all summer long? Then you need to proactively take care of your AC Unit.

Strange air conditioning sounds are one way to tell that something’s wrong. Here are seven of the most common sounds you might hear and what they mean.

1. Banging

There are several things that can cause your AC unit to make a banging noise, and none of them are good. This is usually an indication that something is loose inside your system. This could range from a crankshaft to a connecting rod.

Banging could also mean that your indoor blower is unbalanced. In this case, it’s likely that your compressor is on its last leg and you’ll need to replace it.

If you hear a banging sound, you’ll want to shut your unit off right away to avoid the possibility of additional damage.

2. Squealing

A squealing sound is usually an indication that high internal pressure has built up in your system. It’s actually normal for this to happen, but most AC units have a sensor that tells it to shut off when the pressure starts to build.

If this sensor has failed and the pressure is high, it can present a safety issue. You’ll want to turn your AC off right away to ensure that nobody gets hurt.

Sometimes, squealing can also be caused by a bad belt or bearing problems in your motor. Belts are fairly easy and inexpensive to fix. It’s important to replace them before they break, because if you don’t, your AC will stop working.

3. Hissing

A hissing or high-pitched whistling sound could mean that your refrigerant is leaking. These leaks can occur in the lines or in a coil. In this case, you’ll usually also notice that your AC isn’t cooling efficiently.

A refrigerant leak is very bad for your AC unit and poses a health threat to you and your family. If you believe this is what’s happening, then it’s time to call in the pros.

If the hissing sound is coming from within your walls, then it’s likely caused by air leaking from your ducts. This isn’t an emergency. However, since it will continue to drain energy, you won’t want to put off sealing them up for too long.

4. Rattling

Similar to banging, a rattling sound is usually an indication that something is coming loose. If you catch this early, you could avoid dealing with a part that has actually broken off and is moving around within your system. For this reason, it makes sense to call a tech out as soon as you start to hear a rattle.

Sometimes your unit can also rattle if the motor mounts have come loose or there’s a problem with the motor bearings. When the tech comes out to your home, he or she will thoroughly examine the entire motor assembly as part of the troubleshooting process.

5. Clicking

It’s completely normal to hear a single click every time your AC unit starts up or turns off. This is the sound that occurs when your thermostat communicates with the unit. However, if the clicking is frequent or ongoing then you need to investigate.

Clicking could be the result of an obstruction that’s blocking the blower fan. In this case, the clicking will often start off slow and then get progressively faster.

If the AC unit is clicking continuously but won’t turn on, there’s a chance you have an electrical problem. Clicking that’s coming from outside the house might mean that you have issues with your compressor.

6. Buzzing

A buzzing sound is almost always caused by an electrical problem. The most common are issues with the relay switch, motor, wiring, or another component.

Obviously, electrical issues pose some serious possible dangers. If you hear buzzing coming from your AC unit, make sure you turn it off and call a tech right away.

7. Gurgling

If you hear a gurgling or bubbling sound, it’s likely that your drain line is either clogged or cracked. This is one task that you can take care of yourself as long as you feel comfortable. Just make sure you turn your unit off before you start to inspect the line.

Once you’ve located your drain line, you can try to clear it out using a thin, stiff brush. If the plug is deeper in the line, you can also attach a wet/dry vacuum to the end of the line, secure it with duct tape, and attempt to suck it out.

If this doesn’t work, or you would rather not deal with it, then call your AC company to take care of it. Don’t put it off too long, though. Clogged drain lines left untreated can lead to water damage.

Hearing Strange Air Conditioning Sounds? We Can Help!

If you’ve heard any of the strange air conditioning sounds listed above, don’t panic! Often, taking care of these issues right away will help you avoid shelling out a lot of cash for a much bigger problem.

Use our handy form to schedule an appointment online or give us a call at 704-865-7474. Our highly-experienced technicians are standing by and ready to troubleshoot and fix your AC issues.

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