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Collier's Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Air Conditioning Noises That Can Mean Trouble


As the summer weather gets underway, your home’s air conditioning system will begin to put in the heaviest work of the year. If you already had the AC professionally inspected and tuned up, it will be in excellent condition to handle the stress of another summer. But that doesn’t mean the AC is invincible! We recommend you pay attention to any odd behavior in the air conditioner that can give you an early warning of a malfunction. The sooner you have a repair done on the AC, the less time the malfunction has to affect other parts of the cooling system.

Strange Sounds Are Important Warning Signs

Higher bills, uneven cooling, and generally poor household comfort are common indications that something is wrong with a residential AC. But in this post, we’re focused on how unusual noises from your air conditioner can alert you to trouble.

Below are common noises you don’t want to hear from your cooling system and what they might mean.

  • Hissing: A sound like high-pressure gas escaping through a leak is probably exactly that—the gaseous refrigerant in the AC escaping through leaks along the copper refrigerant lines. This is, unfortunately, one of the more common troubles an air conditioner may encounter. Loss of refrigerant will eventually cause catastrophic damage to the compressor, so you want this resolved as soon as possible. HVAC technicians will seal the leaks and recharge the refrigerant.
  • Shrieking: A mechanical shrieking noise means bearings in a motor are wearing down. If the bearings are not replaced, the motor may fail entirely and it must be replaced. This is a good example of why moving fast to have repairs done is vital: it’s less costly to replace bearings than to replace an entire motor.
  • Clanging: A hard clanging sound of metal striking metal is possibly a bent fan blade striking the housing in either the air handler or the outdoor condenser. This will cause damage to the fan and the rest of the AC if it’s allowed to continue.
  • Grinding: Mechanical grinding noises can be caused by a variety of motor troubles, such as a loss of lubrication. A motor under this much stress is primed to burn out, so call for repairs as soon as possible. If you hear the grinding sound from the outdoor condenser, it could be a tight compressor—a major problem if it caused the compressor to fail.
  • Clicking: When the compressor or the fans come on, do you hear a clicking sound you haven’t heard before? This indicates a capacitor that’s starting to fail, eventually leading to motors that won’t start or won’t continue to run.

Please don’t attempt to diagnose what’s wrong with the AC on your own. Only trained professionals can track down the exact problem so it can be fixed.

To arrange for quality HVAC service in Syracuse, IN, to repair an air conditioner that’s acting suspiciously, trust to Collier’s. We have 24/7 emergency service for when home cooling problems can’t wait for office hours to start.

Look to the company you’ve grown to trust over 30 years: Collier’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves North Central Indiana.

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