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Preventing Air Conditioner Noise

By July 24, 2019August 26th, 2020One Comment

Air Conditioner Noise

Why Is My Air Conditioner So Loud?

You may be wondering “why is my air conditioner so loud?” Air conditioners make noise because they are large machines with a lot of moving parts that work hard to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. While your AC system will always make some noise a noticeable increase in decibels could be a sign of a problem.

Air Conditioner Noise Sounds and Causes

All air conditioning units make noise when running. Older units are often louder than newer units because air conditioner designs have improved over the years to help reduce noise. So, if your older unit seems to roar rather than purr, it’s not necessarily a sign that it is about to die on you.
Some may feel that the “normal” noise generated by major components like the compressor and fans is too loud. If so, an HVAC professional can advise you about options to help quiet the noise, such as adding sound blankets and other noise-reduction options. An annual maintenance inspection by an HVAC professional will also help keep minor noise issues in check, such as those caused by dirty fan blades or parts requiring lubrication. (see below)

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Some noises, though, require more immediate action. If you hear a noise that concerns you, first make sure to power off your central air conditioning unit to prevent further damage from occurring. Next, contact an HVAC professional to expertly handle the situation. A few common sounds are:

• Rattling ‑ If you hear a rattling noise coming from an exterior AC unit, it could be because something fell into the vents, such as leaves, sticks, or other outdoor debris. A rattle could also indicate something as simple as loose bolts, screws, or fasteners. However, the sound could also be coming from the compressor. As the motor in the compressor begins to age, it may get louder and begin to make noises, which would be the first sign of a problem with it.

• Grinding ‑If you hear a grinding noise, it is most likely one of the fan motors. The noise usually signals that something might be going wrong with the fan motors, such as a worn bearing.

• Popping ‑Sometimes, you might hear popping noises in your ductwork, especially when the air cuts on and off. It can be an issue with your ductwork rather than the central air conditioning unit. As ductwork ages, just as anything else, it may also require maintenance to make sure that nothing is faulty or damaged so that your AC unit can continue to effectively and efficiently cool your home.

• Hissing‑A hissing or whistling noise could also be due to a problem with ductwork. However, a hissing noise coming from the AC unit itself is often indicative of a refrigerant leak, which should only be handled by an HVAC professional.


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Preventing AC System Noise

First, a homeowner should always make sure the AC filter is regularly changed. When you purchase a filter, the manufacturer’s instructions include a recommendation for how often it should be changed. Filters can become clogged much sooner than that recommendation depending on factors in the home, such as excessive dust, pet hair, or cigarette smoke. Keep an eye on the filter and change it when it appears to be clogged or dirty, even if it’s before the recommended date.

Second, the best way to prevent such noises from occurring is to have your AC unit regularly inspected. Annual tune-ups by an HVAC specialist allow you to maintain your central air conditioning unit and keep minor issues from turning into major problems.

Finally, when your car starts making a loud, strange noise that seems like a mechanical issue, don’t you take it to a mechanic to have it checked out? Just like your car, when your AC unit makes a loud, strange sound, it’s wise to call an HVAC professional as soon as possible. Your air conditioner is an expensive, complicated piece of machinery that requires a trained HVAC specialist to safely inspect and repair the equipment.

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One Comment

  • Grinding noises were something I really wanted to read about, so I appreciate you discussing them in your article. Lately, our cooling unit has started producing this noise more and more, and I wondered if this was natural for a unit this old. Now that I’ve read your article, I’ll go look for an HVAC expert that can repair it for me right away.

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