Why Is My Air Conditioner So Loud?

During the hot summer months, you rely on your air conditioner to keep you and your family cool. And while you appreciate the cool air, a noisy air conditioner can make you start to wonder if the cold air is worth it.

Overhead view of a man looking into the top of an air conditioning unit.

Is your noisy air conditioner driving you up a wall? All air conditioners make some noise, but if your air conditioner is unusually loud or making strange noises, your unit may require repair, maintenance, or replacement. Keep reading to learn why your air conditioner is making loud noises.

My Air Conditioner Is Making Loud Noises: AC Noises Explained

The first step to troubleshooting your noisy air conditioner problem is to identify the type of noise. Determining the type of sound that your air conditioner is making can help you narrow down what might be causing the problem. Here are some of the different noises you might be hearing and what each noise might mean:

  • Banging: This noise indicates that something from your air conditioning unit has come loose, the blower is unbalanced, or the compressor needs to be replaced.
  • Buzzing: Buzzing can be a sign of many different issues, including loose parts or debris, an electrical issue, the blower is unbalanced or needs to be replaced, or there is a refrigerant leak.
  • Clanking: Clanking likely indicates a loose part or an unbalanced blower or fan blade.
  • Clicking: While one click when the air conditioner powers on is nothing to worry about, constant clicking could indicate an obstruction, electrical problem, or issue with the compressor.
  • Gurgling: You likely have a clogged or cracked drain line.
  • Hissing: This is an indication of a refrigerant leak.
  • Humming: Generally, a humming noise is no cause for concern, but it could be a sign of loose parts vibrating or an electrical problem.
  • Rattling: A part probably came loose and is rattling around inside the unit.
  • Whistling: If you hear a high-pitched whistling, squealing, or screaming, turn your air conditioner off immediately and seek professional help. You likely have a refrigerant leak or high pressure within your compressor, which can be very dangerous if left untreated.

What Should I Do If My Air Conditioner Is Making Loud Noises?

Maybe you only use your air conditioner periodically, or the noise isn’t so egregious that it keeps you from working, sleeping, and participating in day-to-day activities in your home – but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored. Neglecting any kind of abnormal noise from a piece of HVAC equipment may exacerbate the problem and create a danger to you or your family.

It’s a good rule of thumb to investigate anything out of the ordinary. It doesn’t take much for a small noise to turn into a major problem that costs you both time and money. Don’t let a minor issue turn into a major expense. The sooner you can get to the root of the problem, the better.

At the first sign of a loud air conditioner noise, we recommend property owners:

  1. Think critically about the noise, and if possible, record it on your phone. Does it match any of the descriptions listed in this blog? Are there certain conditions required for the equipment to make the noise, or is it noisy anytime the AC unit is on?
  2. Turn off the unit.
  3. Call your local Aire Serv for professional service. Many of our locations offer emergency services for qualified jobs.

Loud Air Conditioners Are No Match for Aire Serv Technicians

Have concerns about the noise your air conditioner is making? Asking yourself, “why is my air conditioner so loud?” Trust the professionals at Aire Serv to help you troubleshoot, repair, replace, or maintain your air conditioner. Call us or request an appointment online to get started.

What if it's not your AC but rather a strange plumbing noise keeping you up at night? Get troubleshooting tips from our friends at Mr. Rooter® Plumbing, a fellow member of the Neighborly® family of trusted home service brands.