Buzz, Hum, Clank: A/C Noises And What They Mean

Is your air conditioner trying to tell you there is a problem? Before the warm San Diego weather puts your home cooling system to the test it is time to give a listen to the A/C noises it is producing. If you hear a buzz, a hiss, a rattle or an out and out scream that could be a warning sign that major trouble is on the horizon.

  • Buzzing. A buzzing sound coming from your outside condenser unit is a likely clue that there is an electrical problem with the unit. Poor electric connections can produce the buzzing or it could be a sign of a failing motor.
  • Hissing. If you can hear a hissing sound coming from the unit that is a likely indicator that refrigerant is leaking from the system. This problem is something which can be easily detected with routine maintenance to the system.
  • Rattling. If the A/C noises you are hearing are more like a rattle or a bang, the problem could be with the motor mount. The rattling could signal that a bolt has broken or come loose. Banging can also signal a problem with the compressor kicking in
  • Screaming. The worst noise that you can hear when you turn on your A/C unit is a scream which is most likely a signal that the compressor has seized up and won’t run at all. If this happens turn off the unit immediately and call a professional.
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