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6 Air Conditioner Noises & What They Mean

The noises your cooling system makes on a day to day basis tend to fade into the background. That subtle woosh and hum, the click of the system cycling on—we hear these so often and so regularly that they pretty much amount to white noise. With that being the case, unusual noises tend to stick out quite a bit.

You can use this fact to your advantage! Odd sounds are one of the clearest indications that your air conditioning system has a problem, and if you catch them at the right time you can save yourself a lot of heartache and cost by getting an AC repair service. Even better, each noise tends to indicate a completely unique issue, making noise recognition a very faithful kind of AC troubleshooting, too.

Want to learn about common AC noises, what they mean, and what to do about them? Follow along with the experts at AccuTemp of Baton Rouge while we detail six of the most common ones!

  • Clanking or clattering. Clanks, clattering, or the steady sound of metal grinding on metal are sure sounds that indicate a part has come loose or is severely damaged. The sound you’re hearing, in this case, is typically the component in question banging against the cooling system. As you might expect, you’ll want to call for AC repair ASAP on this one!
  • High-pitched squealing. A loud, persistent squeal will usually mean a worn out, damaged, or out of date belt. It can also potentially be bearings that are lacking lubrication, but that sound is often a good deal more shrill.
  • Vibration. Though not technically a sound, the term “vibration” is close enough to give you an idea of what we’re talking about (plus we already used “clattering”). This sound can typically pop up anywhere in the home where ducts are running, and usually indicates a duct that has come loose, causing it to vibrate and produce a weak rattling noise as air passes through the duct.
  • Humming/buzzing. A hum or buzz noise is often found near electrical components, and this one can actually be really dangerous. In most cases what you have here is an electrical connection that has come loose or is experiencing some sort of short or overloading issue. We strongly recommend shutting the system down and calling for repair, and this is one of the ones we would say warrants an emergency AC repair service.
  • Whistling noises. Whistling is usually the result of small amounts of air rapidly escaping a smallish hole. Most commonly this will be a pinhole air leak, usually in the ducts or near a return or supply vent. A single pinhole isn’t too much to stress over, but often where there’s one there are many, and this can result in tons of efficiency loss and poor air quality.
  • Bubbling or “wet” noises. Wet gurgling or bubbling noises are similar to the whistle noise, just with water or refrigerant. Either the condensate drain line, or worse, the refrigerant line has become damaged and is leaking.

Air Conditioner Repair in Baton Rouge

Generally speaking, we would recommend that you get any odd sound checked out right away. In most cases, an odd noise is going to point to some part of your cooling system that is damaged, worn out, or otherwise malfunctioning. Leaving these sorts of issues alone very frequently results in bigger problems, and potentially even AC replacement.

If you need help, are unsure about what kind of action is needed, or if you’re ready to schedule an AC repair service in the Baton Rouge area, never hesitate to contact the certified HVAC pros at AccuTemp!