Hissing, Popping, Rattling: Why Is My AC Making So Much Noise?

Like most large appliances, all air conditioning units make some sort of noise while they’re working. The good news is, a noisy unit doesn’t always mean there’s a problem. 

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But if you’re unsure of whether or not the sound coming from your air conditioning is cause for concern, here are four common noises our customers typically hear (and what they’re typically caused by).

1.) Popping. A popping sound coming from your ductwork when the AC unit turns on and off isn’t actually an issue with your air conditioning at all. It’s commonly caused by aging ductwork, and unless extreme, isn’t typically a major problem. If the popping becomes more regular or your AC unit is failing to cool your home as a result, bring in an HVAC professional to take a look.

2.) Grinding. Hearing grinding coming from your air conditioning can be cringe-worthy, not to mention worrisome. A grinding noise typically indicates an issue with the fan of your AC unit, such as a worn bearing or broken blade. If you notice a grinding sound, it’s probably a good idea to have a professional come take a look as soon as possible to prevent larger problems. 

3.) Rattling. Rattling noises in your AC can be caused by several issues. Let’s start with the least concerning reasons and work our way up:

  • Debris. Loose leaves or sticks sometimes work their way into the AC unit. In this case, a professional can remove the debris and get your AC running smoothly (and quietly) in no time. *NEVER reach into your air conditioning unit. Leave this to the pros.
  • Loose parts. Air conditioning units contain several moving parts. As such, it’s not uncommon for some of them to become loose with use. Bolts, screws, and fasteners can break loose and cause a rattling sound. Call an HVAC professional to perform maintenance regularly to reduce the risk of this issue.
  • Compressor problems. Last but certainly not least, a rattling noise can be caused by an aging or malfunctioning compressor. If your AC unit has seen better days, it might be time for a replacement. 

4.) Hissing. A hissing noise can sometimes indicate an issue with ductwork, but more often, it is caused by a refrigerant leak within your AC unit. As with most air conditioning repairs, fixing a leak in the refrigerant and/or recharging the unit is a task that is best left to trained technicians.

Professional air conditioning diagnostic and repair

Are you hearing a different sound coming from your air conditioning unit or ductwork? The team at Robert B. Payne, Inc. is available for troubleshooting, repairs, installation, and routine maintenance to keep your systems running smoothly and efficiently (not to mention quietly). Send us a message or call (540) 373-5876 to schedule an appointment today.