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Common AC Noises and What They Might Mean

Today’s high-efficiency air conditioners are quieter than ever before. But, while it’s easy to grow accustomed to the pleasant humming or initial “click” that your unit is making during normal operation, it’s important to keep an ear out for any unique or strange noises.

You see, as temperatures soar and AC units are running at full blast from sun up until sun down, there’s more strain being put on your beloved AC system (and a higher chance of an unexpected breakdown). To better identify whether your air conditioner is on the brink of losing its cool or is in dire need of an AC repair in Houston, TX or the surrounding communities, take note of any mysterious noises coming from your unit.

Listen Up!

To avoid being without chilled relief during July’s roaring heat waves, listen up for the presence of strange or unfamiliar sounds. To help, here are the most common noises that an AC unit might make (and what it’s trying to tell you):

Banging and Clanking

Loud banging and clanking can be both startling and worrisome. These noises typically indicate that there’s a loose or broken part or that your unit is in need of a compressor replacement. If these sounds are present, it’s best to turn off your system and contact a professional as soon as possible.


This sound is generally heard when your system kicks on or shuts off and that’s a normal part of the system’s operation. However, constant or ongoing clicking can be a sign of a failing thermostat. Given that this could also be a potential electrical issue, it’s important to contact an expert immediately.


This sound generally means that there is a malfunctioning valve or an air leak in your ductwork and vents. Rather than simply caulking these seals during a DIY project, a trained professional can diagnose and remedy any issue to avoid higher energy bills in the long run.


Grinding noises are often the result of an air handler’s failing fan motors, which are responsible for circulating air throughout your air ducts. If this sound is present, a professional can inspect your unit and replace the motor before your air handler malfunctions completely.

Bubbling or Screaming

These sounds may indicate a refrigerant leak, which can both damage your air conditioner and affect your family’s health. So, if present, shut your AC unit off and contact a professional who can identify the leak’s location, seal it and recharge your system.

Of course, if any of these sounds occur, the sooner you can determine the cause of the noise and resolve any issues, the better.

An Extra Set of Eyes & Ears

Rather than being forced to suddenly face unbearably hot summer days without a properly operating comfort system, it’s important to stay on top of your AC unit’s well-being. If you hear one of the aforementioned sounds or notice anything else unusual, the Clear the Air Cooling & Heating team has the experience and expertise to identify the noise, pinpoint the precise problem and then recommend any necessary repairs or, if needed, air conditioning replacements and air conditioning installations near Friendswood, TX and the surrounding areas.

At Clear the Air Cooling & Heating, our HVAC technicians provide fast and reliable AC services to help keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long. And with years of hands-on expertise and an unrelenting commitment to customer satisfaction, we guarantee that you’ll be pleased with the quality of our craftsmanship.

Contact the Most Trusted HVAC Company in Texas

To learn more about our comprehensive air conditioning services, fill out our online form or call us at 832.224.5595.

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