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Strange Noises Coming from Your Air Conditioner


Air Conditioner Maintenance: Strange Sounds Coming from Your Unit

Strange noises coming from your AC

Air conditioners are built to run quietly.

Any out of the ordinary noises are cause for concern.

Call a pro as soon as you notice any of the following noises coming from your AC and you might still avoid an expensive repair or replacement.

  • Bubbling
  • Banging
  • Screaming
  • Screeching
  • Clicking

Each signals a different common issue, and some are easily repairable when caught early.


A bubbling noise while your air conditioner runs could be two things, in 99% of cases:

  • Your AC may have a refrigerant leak.
  • Your condensate drain line might be partially blocked.

The location of bubbling is difficult to pinpoint when you listen, so differentiating between the two issues can be tough. If you’re handy, you can check the condensate drain line and ensure it has a proper trap. We don’t recommend anybody fuss with refrigerant in an air conditioner.

Give us a call if you’re unsure and we’ll help sort it out.


Banging or clanging noises happen the entire time your air conditioner runs.

This usually means the fan is out of alignment and hitting something in the way. Some sort of obstruction may have worked its way into the AC fan area, or the fan came loose from the mount.

The longer it runs like this, the more damage your AC unit sustains. Enough damage could call for a significant repair bill.

Turn your AC off, call us and book a maintenance visit. Most homeowners prefer the minor cost of a maintenance visit to the relative expense of a repair.


A high-pitched screaming sound flares up when the AC first turns on. It can last only 10-15 seconds, but you can hear it from inside the house. Sometimes the AC starts and stops itself several times while this noise is active.

Pressure is building up somewhere in your air conditioning system, causing the compressor to vent and let out a screaming sound.

This is one of the more dangerous sounds your air conditioner can make. Pressure can be explosive (not often – your air conditioner has a safety switch that trips should pressure get too high – but it’s still a concern).


What’s the difference between screaming and screeching? Screaming is like the water in your kettle boiling. Screeching is more of a metal rubbing sound.

A metal on metal screech that persists while the outdoor unit of your air conditioner runs usually comes from degraded fan motor bearings. This part can’t be replaced, so you’ll need a new fan motor.

You can continue running the AC if it’s uncomfortably hot outside, but the sooner you get it repaired the better.


Clicking can mean a few things.

  • When the unit is running, it might be just a small obstruction in the outdoor fan. This is certainly true if the clicking speeds up as the fan does.
  • If the clicking comes when your outdoor AC unit attempts to turn on, there is an electrical problem somewhere in the system. This could be a faulty thermostat, a compressor issue or a failing capacitor.

Your decision to get the AC fixed is usually closely related to the temperature right now. It’s cool today, so you are probably tempted to put it off.

But when the temperature returns to that uncomfortable heat, you want to know your AC is reliable and capable of performing to the level your family needs. That’s why we recommend getting your AC looked at the moment you notice anything wrong. It’s best to be safe.

Call us if your AC makes any of these noises and we’ll make sure your family has cool air when needed.

Work With Our Local Experts Contact Moore & Russell For A Free Quote On Your Vancouver Home Comfort Needs

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