Does your air conditioner make too much noise?
Having a noisy air conditioner in your home can not only be a nuisance but a cause for concern. Not knowing why your AC is making a strange noise can be distressing if you do not know why the noise happening, where it’s coming from, or how to stop it.
In this article, we guide you through how to identify and resolve noises coming from your air conditioner. Ultimately, the key to keeping your AC unit quiet and functioning properly is to ensure it gets regular maintenance from a professional HVAC team.
Keep reading to learn about four ways you can reduce the noise coming from your AC.
Why is My Air Conditioner Making Noise?
When your air conditioner (AC) begins to make unusual noises, it can be difficult to focus on other things until you figure out how to stop the noise.
If you are noticing strange sounds or an unusual amount of noise coming from your AC, there are three crucial factors to consider to identify the noise and its potential cause:
- Where is the noise coming from? The first key piece of information you want to uncover is the source of the noise. Sometimes this can be easy to figure out — for instance, a rattling noise may be accompanied by a vibrating component. In other cases, the noise may be coming from deeper within the unit, making it difficult to identify the source without taking the AC unit apart.
- When is the noise occurring? The next important detail to take note of is when the noise is occurring — does your AC unit make noise all the time or only at certain times? Is your AC unit making noise while it’s running or when it’s off? Answering these questions can give you essential insights into what may be happening to cause the noise.
- What type of noise is it? The third factor to pay close attention to is the type of noise your AC unit is making. Different types of noises can mean different things and are often caused by different sources. For example, a banging noise can be indicative of a loose component, while a squealing noise can indicate a loose or burning fan belt.
Common AC Unit Noises
As you listen to your AC and try to figure out where the noise is coming from and what may be causing it, it is pertinent to familiarize yourself with common noises associated with AC units.
Here are seven common AC unit noises and their potential causes:
- Banging, Clunking, or Rattling: A banging, clunking, or rattling sound is typically a sign of a loose or broken component within your AC unit. As this component becomes looser and more damaged, it will begin to hit against the sides of the unit and other components while the unit is running. Additionally, build-ups of debris on AC components can also cause this type of noise.
- Grinding: Grinding noises are caused by intense friction between moving components in your AC unit, such as a worn-out motor bearing impacting a blower motor or fan’s ability to function. Grinding noises are often an indicator that your AC needs immediate repairs. You should cease the use of your AC until the grinding noise is resolved.
- Squealing or Screeching: A squealing or screeching noise is most commonly associated with the fan belt within your AC unit. If left unaddressed for too long, this noise can be accompanied by the smell of burning rubber as your fan belt becomes more and more worn down, either from overuse or from friction with another component.
- Hissing or Whistling: A hissing or whistling noise is typically a sign that your AC unit is leaking air somewhere, such as in the ductwork. When the hole from which air is escaping is small, this does not present a major issue. However, repairing this hole quickly is still important, as it can prevent a build-up of debris and filtering issues that may occur if the problem worsens.
- Clicking: If your AC unit is making noise while turning on or off, you are likely to hear a clicking noise. This type of noise generally indicates an electrical issue, such as a malfunctioning thermostat or relay. When you begin hearing this clicking, it is essential to make sure your AC unit is still cooling your home properly and efficiently.
- Buzzing or Humming: A buzzing or humming noise is another indicator of an electrical issue. This type of sound is often associated with a loose connection, such as a loose wire or malfunctioning relay. A common cause for this type of issue in AC units is a build-up of debris that can inhibit the AC’s components from functioning properly.
- Bubbling: AC units use refrigerant to make the air in your home cool. If you are hearing a bubbling or gurgling type of sound coming from your AC unit, this can be a major sign of a leak. Additionally, this can drain your AC of its refrigerant much more quickly, causing efficiency issues that prevent your AC from adequately cooling your home.
While the above seven noises are the most common to hear coming from an AC unit, every case is different. Even if you are hearing one of the above noises, the root cause may be something unexpected.
As such, it is important to not only read up on proper AC maintenance but also to find a reputable HVAC service provider that can help you care for your AC unit correctly.
4 Ways to Reduce Your Air Conditioner’s Noise
Dealing with AC noise reduction can be a challenge — luckily, there are a few key steps you can take to reduce this noise effectively and ensure your unit is well-maintained.
Here are four methods for reducing the noise coming from your AC:
1. Consider the Placement of Your AC Unit
Where you place your AC unit in or around your home matters.
In general, both indoor and outdoor AC units should be positioned in open and well-ventilated areas. AC units need sufficient space to achieve efficient airflow and cooling, meaning you should make sure any possible obstacles or obstructions are moved away from your unit.
Keeping your AC unit away from other objects is also crucial for keeping it relatively debris-free. AC units will always require some maintenance and cleaning. Nonetheless, you should strive to keep your AC away from items that can leave behind debris (aka, don’t use your AC as a shelf for dirty shoes).
Additionally, the thermostat for your AC needs to be in a suitable location to ensure it functions properly. The thermostat should be in a central location within your home and away from any direct heating source, such as a furnace or direct sunlight.
2. Use a Sound Blanket for Your Air Conditioner
Sound blankets (also called compressor blankets) are commonly used to reduce the normal noises of an AC unit. These blankets are designed for sound absorption while still permitting adequate airflow for the AC unit to function properly and efficiently.
The biggest consideration with a sound blanket is installing it correctly. You cannot simply drape the blanket over the top of the AC unit and carry on with your day — you need the right tools and technique to ensure the unit is receiving the ventilation and airflow it needs.
3. Install a Fence Around Your AC Unit
For outdoor AC units, installing a fence around the unit can be tremendously helpful for guaranteeing it has the space it needs and is protected from debris. Additionally, installing a fence with solid panels can help to reduce the noise emitted from your AC unit.
The key to installing a fence around your AC is to give the unit enough breathing room. Ideally, you should leave three feet of open space on each side of the AC unit.
You can also take this fence a step further by installing a patio cover above where the unit rests on the ground. This cover can help protect the unit further from natural debris and the elements.
4. Schedule an HVAC Check-Up for Your AC Unit
For the fourth and final method, we recommend contacting an HVAC specialist to perform regular maintenance on your AC unit. Having a trusted HVAC service provider you can turn to is crucial, especially when your AC unit is making bothersome or concerning noises.
You should have your AC unit serviced at least once per year.
Dealing with a noisy AC unit can be a pain — but with the right approach, you can reduce the noise coming from your AC and ensure it is functioning efficiently.
While DIY care for your AC unit can be a great way to keep it in good condition, having an HVAC service provider you can call for regular maintenance and emergencies is essential.
Together, you and your HVAC service provider can ensure your AC unit is in the best shape possible.