Have you ever heard someone say that it’s okay for an air conditioner to operate louder on a muggy day, because it’s “working harder?” Unfortunately, even if it was an HVAC technician that told you this, it’s just not true. Nor does a grinding noise mean that your system is just “warming up.”
Take our word for it, these silly claims are not right.
Air conditioners are built to operate as quietly as possible. In fact, the only sounds you should hear coming from a functional air conditioner is the sound of the air “wooshing” through your vents, and the hum of the compressor outside. True, these not be “quiet” sounds to you, but in relation to the noises that we’re about to describe below, they’re pretty minor.
Contact Our Pros When You Detect a Problem
Unfortunately, there is no sort of “check engine light” for your air conditioner. This doesn’t mean you should be vigilant, however. We’ll take this opportunity to discuss with you what you should do if you hear your air conditioner making unnatural sounds.
Remember, too, that no matter what kind of sound is coming from your HVAC system, if it’s unfamiliar to you then it’s a good idea to contact one of our technicians. These sounds could mean any number of different things, and a pair of untrained hands could make the situation worse.
Is Your AC Making Grinding Noises?
Typically, a grinding sound indicates a machine that hasn’t been oiled or maintained in a long time. Your air conditioning system contains a motor as well as a fan—these components create friction as they move the air throughout your living space.
This is where a set of oiled ball bearings keep the system lubricated enough to function smoothly and quietly. However, as a natural part of wear and tear, these bearings wear down. When they do, they can cause a grinding sound—once it reaches that point it’s important to act fast, as letting this go on could lead to your air conditioning system burning out.
Do You Hear Hissing or Bubbling?
No, this is not a normal noise coming from your air conditioner. Your cooling system has an airtight refrigerant line that it uses for the cooling process. A bubbling or hissing sound is a clue that there is air located in the refrigerant line, meaning you have a leak, and your air conditioner is losing refrigerant.
Air conditioning systems aren’t meant to lose any of their refrigerant charge—it should be recycled through the system throughout its entire lifespan. But when there’s damage, refrigerant can escape the system as a gas and can be bad news for your wallet, your air conditioner, and even the environment.
Is Your System Short-Cycling?
In terms of sound, this is the sound a compressor makes when it turns on and shuts off rapidly, rather than in the usual regular intervals. This can happen with a cooling system that’s not properly sized to begin with—but you would notice this right after installation. If you have an older system that’s short-cycling, it’s a sign of a problem that must be repaired right away.