Why Is My Air Conditioner So Loud?

If you’re a homeowner, you’ll want to have your air conditioning unit maintained and ready for the warm months ahead. After such a long winter, making sure your air conditioner is in proper working condition is essential for ensuring that your home and family stays cool this summer.

When you first turn on your air conditioner after the winter, or at some point later in the summer, you may hear a loud noise coming from your air conditioning unit. What does the noise mean?

Common Air Conditioner Sounds & Their Causes

There are a number of reasons why your air conditioner may be making an unusual or loud sound. Identifying the type of sound is important for determining the cause — and some sounds can be signs of more serious problems.

Rattling Noises

If your external air conditioner unit has started to make a rattling noise, there may be something lodged in the vents. Check the unit for leaves, sticks or other debris and be sure to keep tree branches away from the unit. Rattling can also be an indication that there is a loose bolt, screw or fastener, or the noise could be coming from the air conditioner’s compressor. As compressors age, the motor becomes louder and a rattling noise could be your first indication that it has begun to break down.

Grinding Noises

Grinding noises are most commonly attributed to fan motors in your air conditioning unit. If your unit has begun to make a grinding noise, the bearings in the fan motors may have begun to wear down and might require a replacement.

Popping Noises

Occasionally, when your air conditioner turns on and off, you may hear popping sounds coming from the vents. This is actually a sign of a problem with your ductwork, not the air conditioner itself. Over time, ductwork ages and requires maintenance. When you have your air conditioning unit maintained at the beginning of the season, be sure to have your ductwork inspected for issues as well.

Hissing Noises

Hissing noises can also be an indicator of ductwork issues, but the noises can also come from the air conditioning unit itself. If the hissing noise is attributed to your air conditioning unit, you may have a refrigerant leak and you should call your HVAC technician as soon as possible.

Regular maintenance on your air conditioning unit is essential for preventing these noises and costly problems.
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