That Noise in Your Air Conditioner Compressor Is Telling You Something — But What?

Here at Climatic, we know that noise coming from your air conditioner compressor can be unsettling, but there’s hope. You can learn how to diagnose and treat a wide range of common air compressor noises. Here’s how to tell what that noise means and what you should do about it.

Noise in the air conditioner compressor – What does it mean?

The first question you need to ask when attempting to diagnose noise in your air conditioner compressor is “Where is the noise coming from?” Listen carefully to your air conditioner and try to determine its source. Next, ask yourself what the noise sounds like. A noise inside your air compressor could indicate that you need a simple tuneup, but it could also mean you need costly repairs or a replacement of the entire air compressor unit.

Here are some common noises and what they might mean.

  • Banging or clanking noise – This may indicate a loose part inside the air compressor—for example a connecting rod, piston pin, crankshaft or internal mount. These noises may indicate your system needs an air compressor replacement.
  • Bubbling or hissing sounds – This usually means your compressor has a refrigerant leak.
  • Buzzing noises near the outside fan motor – These sounds may indicate a failing motor, loose wiring, arcing connections or arcing or burning at the fan contactor relay switch.
  • Chattering or rattling noise – This can occur in models with a compressor crankcase heater element if the unit is started up before allowing 24 hours of power-on time.
  • Humming electric motors – Humming may indicate that the starting capacitor needs replacement.
  • Clicking noises – These noises may be caused by a failing or defective thermostat.
  • Hissing or screaming sounds – Screams and hisses are often caused by excessive internal pressure and can be very dangerous.
  • Brief squeals at compressor start-up – Squeals upon startup are often part of normal compressor behavior.

How to deal with noise in the air conditioner compressor

Long story short, air conditioner compressor noises are usually bad news. Contacting a professional technician for an inspection is the best step to take.

If you have a noise in the air conditioner compressor that has you stumped, or any other home comfort questions, contact the pros at Climactic Conditioning Co., Inc. Our team is comprised of knowledgeable and friendly air conditioning repair experts in Sarasota, FL who are always ready to help.