Why is my Air Conditioner Loud?

Why is my air conditioner so loud? — it’s a common question many homeowners ask themselves or their HVAC technician.

First, you must understand that air conditioners are large units that do make a certain amount of noise when they are running. For example, the “thunk” of a unit starting up followed by the steady whirring of the air conditioner’s fan is a normal noise situation that you may encounter. Older units tend to be louder than newer ones, because technology has changed and manufacturers have invested resources into making units quieter.

Over time, you’ll become used to these normal sounds, and you’ll be able to discern when something just doesn’t sound right — when things are louder than they should be. Below are some sounds that could be considered a sign of trouble:

Grinding: A loud grinding noise could be a sign that the condenser fan’s bearing or bearings are worn or the compressor is having a problem. Do not ignore this situation because serious damage could happen.

Popping from your ductwork: Sometimes you may hear popping from your ducts when the air shuts on and off. This could be as simple as expansion and contraction of the metal ductwork. However, if these noises start where no noise was heard in the past, it could be a sign of stressed, blocked or damaged ductwork — or possibly the sound of a failing component of the air handling portion of the system coming through the ductwork. Find the source of the problem and fix it as soon as possible to avoid damage to your air conditioning unit.

Hissing or whistling from your AC unit: This is usually indicative of a refrigerant leak. Shut down your system immediately and call a trusted HVAC Professional.

Your AC unit is rattling: This can be the result of debris that has fallen into the vents or loose service cover screws. If the sound sounds like it is coming from the compressor itself, it could be a sign that your compressor has finally reached the end of its life cycle.

In order to keep your air conditioner running in peak condition and reduce the possibility of catastrophic damage, always make sure to change your filters and have your system assessed by a professional at regular intervals.

Finally, always stay tuned in to the sound and volume of your your air conditioning system, and when you say to yourself “why is my air conditioner so loud?”, you’ll know to get in touch with an HVAC professional. It will save you a lot of money and headaches down the road.

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