It may bother you when you hear noises coming from your air conditioner.  You aren’t sure what are normal noises and what could be signs of trouble.  In today’s world of air conditioning, the units are made high efficiency and should have noise dampening technology installed which will help to keep the sound level down within the units.  If you hear a lot of noise happening and simply ignore it, it could end up costing you significantly  The sooner you are able to find out what the cause of the noise is and have it taken care of, the better.




– If your unit is older, it may make more noises than one of the newer air conditioners.  They have become much more efficient over the years.  But if this noise is something that is keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep, it needs to be addressed.  Let’s look at a few examples and what could be the cause.


– Is it popping?  Generally, when the air conditioner comes on, there will be an expansion and this will cause a pop.  This is actually the ductwork.  It should only do that once when it first starts, however, if it continues as it runs, this would be reason to call for servicing.


– Is it grinding?  The fan motor will be the most common grinding sound that you should hear.  There are bearings within the motors and as with everything, bearings will wear which creates this grinding and a need for servicing. The unit should be shut down and a call for service is warranted.


– Is it hissing?  This could possibly be ductwork that can at times cause noise such as a whistle or a hiss but there is also the possibility that there is a leak with the refrigerant which would need an immediate call to the service professional.


– Is there a rattling? Generally, with yearly maintenance, your service provider will take care of this.  It is probably within the compressor which can happen as the motor begins to age and the noise starts to grow louder.  It’s not usually an indication that there is a problem with the unit. 


– Is there a banging?  You should shut the unit off and check around to see if there are any parts that may be lost inside the unit.  That is usually the indication with this sound.


– Is there a clicking?  This is most likely an electrical issue and should be checked out.  It could be anything as far as the actual electrical board itself all the way down to the thermostat.


– Is there a humming?  The fan motor may be burnt and the unit should be shut down immediately and call for service as soon as possible.


A good way to avoid having issues such as these arise with your air conditioning unit is to have an HVAC service professional perform annual maintenance of your unit.  You should also always make sure to keep your filter changed and clean.  They all have a regulation schedule as to when they should be changed which depends on how much you run the unit, approximately once per month at least.  This along with regular maintenance should keep your air conditioning unit running smoothly.