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Air Conditioner Noisy

Imagine it’s hot outside, and you’re so glad you have air conditioning.  However, something is not right.  The air conditioner that you depend on is making a weird noise.  It runs, but certainly not properly.  You start to panic.  What do you do?

Do you try and fix it yourself?  Do you look up aircon repair near me?  Do you ring around for advice?  Do you put headphones in or on?  Do you move out?!

We recently discussed 5 common reasons why your air conditioning is not working or not cooling.  We received a lot of questions in response, such as ‘what if my AC is working but just not properly?’  A lot of people wanted to know about other common air conditioner problems and solutions.

While an air conditioner may be running, there are many issues that can affect its operation and your sanity.  There may be a funny noise, an AC ghost turning the system on/off randomly, ice building up, or water leaking inside or from the outdoor unit.

So, how do you troubleshoot common air conditioner problems?  Generally, these issues are an indication that air conditioning repair service is needed.  However, there are still plenty of things you can check and do in the meantime.  It’s also interesting to know what could be going on with your AC unit.  Even more importantly, it’s good to know if the air conditioner is safe to keep using.

Over the next few weeks, will explore common AC issues you may experience while your AC is running, potential causes, and possible solutions.  These tips are designed to help everyone, whether at home or at work.  This week’s focus: Noise!

Why is my Air Conditioning Making Noise?

Air conditioners can make all sorts of noises.  Some are normal, some a not.  There are many possible causes if your AC is making some new or troubling noises.

Broken fan blades make all sorts of noises

When indoor or outdoor fans break, they can produce hammering, scraping, and/or rattling noises.  This usually calls for a professional to repair or replace any broken, distorted, or loose fan blades.

Malfunctioning motor can sound like a cry for help

A shrieking or squealing fan motor literally sounds like the air conditioner is calling for help, which is best left to an HVAC tech.  This issue can be due to improper installation, incorrect sizing, debris buildup, motor fusion, or just general wear and tear.

Incorrect lubrication of motor bearings can cause issues

Under lubricated AC motor bearings may buzz and grind, especially in the commercial setting, indicating the need for greasing or risk complete motor failure.  Again, it’s best to consult an expert regarding the appropriate type and application of grease (not oil!).

Package Unit repairs in progress with fan motor issue

Debris in outdoor unit can cause noises

Leaves and twigs trapped in the outdoor unit can cause clicking, clanging, or humming sounds. Regular unit cleaning and clearing of the surrounding area is essential to prevent this and help avoid overheating and damage.

Cracked ductwork or refrigerant lines may be silent or audible

Cracks anywhere in the AC system can lead to hissing, whistling, or gurgling noises.  If the noise is signalling a dangerous refrigerant leak then it may require immediate professional attention.

Clogged drain pipe may make a distinguishable sound

A drain pipe clogged with debris or any matter can produce sloshing sounds, which many people will recognise.  Regular checking and cleaning of AC drains is recommended as part of routine air conditioner service to help prevent this problem.

Controller/thermostat can make noises

Clicking or beeping sounds from a controller/thermostat may suggest a dead or dying battery or whole controller fault.  It’s recommended to replace the batteries where possible and find an AC repairer if the controller is inaccessible or faulty.

Noise may result from poor air circulation via evaporator coils or filters

If an air conditioning evaporator coil buzzes or return air filters whistles, then it may be due to poor air circulation.  First step is to check the evaporator and filters and cleaning were safe to do so.  Professional inspection and/or chemical cleaning may be required if this does not resolve the issue or if ice is present.

Old AC units can make funny noises

Just like us as we get older, older AC models may operate with a noticeable whirr and start to strain.  There is not much that can be done except ensure the space around the unit is clear to enhance ventilation.  Some also may consider installing sound barriers.

Regular maintenance and prompt attention to these issues can significantly reduce noise problems in air conditioners.  For complex problems like refrigerant leaks, motor replacements, and frozen coils, consulting an HVAC expert is advised.


What to do if Air Conditioner Makes a Whoosing Noise?

If your air conditioner is making a whoosing sound, there are a few main causes.  These are typically air flow or refrigerant based.

Fortunately, there are specific steps and solutions to help resolve this issue:

  1. Check for airflow restrictions: Ensure that all vents and registers are open and unobstructed to allow free airflow.
  2. Inspect air filters: Dirty or clogged air filters can restrict airflow, causing a whooshing sound.  Check, clean, or replace them as needed.
  3. Examine the ductwork: Leaks or blockages in the ductwork can lead to whooshing noises. Inspect for any visible damage or obstructions.
  4. Look for refrigerant leaks: A whooshing sound can also indicate a refrigerant leak, which requires professional attention.
  5. Consult a professional: If these steps don’t resolve the issue, it’s recommended to consult an HVAC technician, as the cause might be more complex and require expert diagnosis and repair.

HVAC repairer with equipment ready to test pressures and regas air conditioner

How to Quiet a Noisy Air Conditioner?

To quiet a noisy air conditioner, the cause of the noise must be found.   Given our discussion earlier, there are many possible causes.

Fortunately, there are many steps and solutions to help quiet a noisy air conditioner:

  1. Inspect and clean fan blades: Check both indoor and outdoor unit fan blades for damage or debris.  Clean or straighten them, and if damaged, consider replacement.
  2. Check and repair the motor: If the motor is making shrieking or squealing sounds, it may need to be repaired or replaced by a professional.
  3. Remove debris from outdoor unit: Clear leaves, twigs, and other debris from the outdoor unit to prevent clinking or humming noises.
  4. Lubricate the motor: Apply proper lubrication to an AC motor if it’s making buzzing or grinding noises, but consult an expert for the correct grease type and application method.
  5. Repair ductwork and refrigerant lines: If you hear hissing or whistling sounds, check for cracks in the ductwork or refrigerant lines, which might indicate a refrigerant leak requiring professional attention.
  6. Troubleshoot thermostat issues: Address any clicking sounds from the thermostat/controller by replacing the battery initially.
  7. Unclog the drain pipe: Regularly check/clean the drain pipe to prevent gurgling sounds caused by water sloshing in a clogged pipe.
  8. Improve air circulation: Ensure proper airflow to prevent buzzing in the evaporator coils or whistling filters, which may involve refitting, chemical cleaning, or ice thawing.
  9. Install sound barriers: For older, noisier units, consider installing sound barriers to reduce noise levels.

Tackle the noise and save your sanity today; book air conditioning repair service today.