Air conditioners can be quite noisy, especially older models, but if you notice any new or unusually loud sounds, it is important to investigate them further. Some noises may be the result of something harmless or relatively minor, while others may indicate major problems that could damage your air conditioner. By identifying the causes of abnormal sounds, you may be able to prevent a costly breakdown or a premature AC replacement.
Is your air conditioner making a strange sound? Contact M.E. Flow online for air conditioner diagnosis and repairs in Northern Virginia!
Common AC Noises & Their Causes
Many air conditioner problems are accompanied by unusual noises that can help you spot them early and avoid unnecessary damage.
Here are some of the most common AC noises and their causes:
- Gurgling – Gurgling or bubbling noises are common during normal operation as the refrigerant moves through the lines, evaporator, and fittings. However, it can occasionally indicate a condensate drain clog, which may cause the system to stop running or water to leak from the drain pan. Check the drain pan or drip tray under the evaporator or air handler for standing water.
- Tapping – If you hear tapping or rapid clicking from the air handler inside your home, the blower fan belt may be damaged or missing pieces, causing a tapping noise. Newer systems typically have direct-drive fans that lack a belt.
- Squealing – If the squealing sound is coming from inside, the belt may be slipping on the blower fan, or the bearings in the blower motor may be failing. If the sound is coming from outside, the condenser fan or compressor may have damaged bearings.
- Screeching – Screeching or screaming sounds from the inside may indicate a blower fan or motor problem. Similar sounds from the outside may indicate a problem with the condenser fan or the compressor, such as bearing failures or excessive system pressure.
- Clicking – Fast clicking noises can be caused by debris stuck in the condenser fan outside or the blower fan inside. Occasional clicking from the outside may occur when the compressor tries and fails to start, indicating a relay, capacitor, or compressor problem.
- Clanging – Clanging or banging noises may be caused by debris stuck in the blower or condenser fan. Occasionally, the sounds can result from a damaged or loose motor mount or blades hitting the shroud.
- Buzzing – Buzzing or humming from the interior may indicate a loose component, vibrating panels, or a failed blower motor. Similar sounds from the exterior may indicate loose components, a failed condenser fan, or a compressor that is failing to start due to capacitor, relay, or compressor problems.
If you can trace the noise to a damaged belt or loose components, it is probably safe to use the system until the problem can be corrected. If there is debris in the condenser or blower fan, shut the breakers off or pull the disconnect, and carefully remove the debris.
For most other problems, the system should be shut down, and a professional should be called right away for AC repairs.
Air Conditioning Repair in Leesburg, VA
Whether your air conditioner is making a strange sound, not cooling properly, or refusing to start, you can count on M.E. Flow for fast service and reliable, cost-effective air conditioning repairs. We serve homeowners throughout Leesburg, Alexandria, Arlington, McLean, and Northern Virginia, and we also offer comprehensive AC maintenance, AC replacements, and more.