Gauges on an Air Conditioning Compressor

Why’s My AC Making That Noise?

Modern air conditioners are supposed to run relatively quietly, and an off-putting noise can be a sign that something is amiss. Nearly everyone who has owned and operated an air conditioner, whether it’s central AC, a room unit, or a ductless mini-split, comes to a point where they hear something that doesn’t sound quite right. What, if anything, could these sounds mean? Should they be ignored or should you call one of our Elite HVAC professionals for an evaluation and a repair? Here are some noises you may hear, and what they might mean.


If you hear clanking from your air conditioner, it is probably a sign that something inside the unit has come loose or broken or is unbalanced. The problem could stem from the compressor or the blades of the outdoor fan or the blades of the indoor blower hitting other parts inside the unit. Since these problems only worsen over time, the sooner they’re fixed, the better.


Buzzing can mean a host of problems with the air conditioner, especially if it’s coming from the outside unit. It could mean:

  • A failing fan motor
  • Debris in the indoor or outdoor components
  • Unbalanced fan blades
  • Dirty condenser coil
  • Dirty air filter


If you hear banging, it’s almost certain that something in your air conditioner is loose or broken. It could be the crankshaft, a broken compressor, or an unbalanced indoor blower.


If you’re just turning on the system and you hear clicking, you can consider that normal. But if the clicking doesn’t stop, it could mean that there’s something wrong with the thermostat or the electricity that powers the system. Because there might be something wrong with the AC’s electricity, it’s best to get this problem seen to right away.

Other noises to attend to are rattling, which may mean that the AC has loose screws or other fasteners. Debris such as fallen leaves can cause this noise as well. A loose fan can also make a rattling sound.

Like clicking, squealing may be normal when the unit is first turned on, but loud squealing is a sign that the fan and blower motors are deteriorating. Humming may be a sign of loose parts. Screaming or whistling constitutes an emergency, for they are signs that the refrigerant, a hazardous chemical, is leaking. You’ll need to shut off your AC and call us immediately if your AC screams.

In the end, your air conditioner can make a variety of sounds that may or may not be a sign of a problem. If you’re worried that a problem exists, don’t hesitate to get your unit seen to.

Call Elite’s HVAC Pros to Investigate Those Strange Noises

Whether they frequent the Bradbury Art Museum or enjoy the lake at Craigshead Forest Park, residents of Jonesboro know that they live in a great town. If your air conditioner is making noises that sound troublesome to you, don’t hesitate to call our HVAC professionals at Elite Climate Control Heat and Air.