Looking for information about air conditioner noises?
Great, you are in the right place. In this guide, you will learn:
- Should I be worried about this air conditioner sound?
- What does this air conditioner sound mean?
- Should I try to fix the problem myself?
- … and answers to many more questions about air conditioner sounds.
Your air conditioning unit is making a weird noise. Maybe it’s working fine, or maybe you’ve noticed the air is not flowing with as much force as it used to. Maybe the air is not as cool as it should be.
If things seem to be working, what’s the problem? Maybe if you ignore it, it will go away. That’s not the best plan. You want to know what that noise means, and if there are problems beyond the noise, you want to find out if and how the two things are related. You want to know if the sound means there are bigger problems hidden in that HVAC unit.
What's In This Guide?
Is This Air Conditioner Noise a Big Deal?
Should you be concerned about a little bit of extra squeaking, pulsating, humming, or hissing from your AC unit? The short answer is yes. But not all air conditioning system noises are a problem, so it’s important to know the difference and know what noises are a bigger cause for concern.
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How Air Conditioners Work
A basic understanding of how an air conditioner works can help in deciding what noises are normal and when they are a cause for concern. Air conditioners remove heat and humidity from inside a home and transfer it to the outside, and then blows cooler air inside.
The evaporator is what removes heat from inside air, while the condenser releases that warm air into the outside. Then the compressor moves refrigerant between the evaporator and the condenser to chill the indoor air, and the blower disperses cool air inside. And of course, there’s a thermostat that regulates how cool you want the inside of your home to be.
All these complicated processes carried out by these moving parts make noise. Some noises are fine, and others may be something to worry about.
Air conditioners make noise, so first things first, let’s cover normal noises. There is the “startup” noise of fans and other moving parts gearing up all at the same time. No big deal.
There is the ongoing fan noise that should be just a low hum as air blows through the ductwork and out through the vents.
You might also hear some clicks as the unit powers down until the thermostat changes and air conditioning is needed again.
Ok, so there are sounds that are truly no big deal. What should you be listening for to check on problems that may be happening in your air conditioner?