Here's How to Quiet a Loud Air Conditioner - Guy's AC & Heating

Last year, people living in the Houston area discovered “someone” raised their Smart thermostats remotely. It was all part of a home security package many residents signed up for through a program designed to save energy.

Too bad no one has developed a way to troubleshoot and fix a loud air conditioner the same way. Imagine an app that could alert you to common AC problems based on noise detection.

We can’t offer an app or remote AC troubleshooting.

Instead, we’ve created a quick guide to help homeowners keep their air conditioners quiet. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to cut the noise and get help fixing the problem.

But first, let’s look at the most common AC noises.

What Sound Does an Air Conditioner Make? 

This question might sound like the title of a book written for toddlers. However, if you’ve never paid attention to your air conditioner’s normal sounds, how can you identify the rumblings of a broken air conditioner?

Air conditioners aren’t always completely silent. If you were to do a soundcheck, you’d notice specific noises on startup, during the cooling cycle, and at shut down.

Your AC unit hums like a tiny RC plane on take-off at startup. In a few seconds, those noises stop. You may hear them again at the beginning of the next cooling cycle.

During regular operation, an air conditioner makes low, steady blowing sounds. It’s the cool air moving through the ducts and vents.

After it completes each cooling cycle, an AC unit makes clicking noises. They come in a series and should stop once all the mechanical parts stop working.

These are all normal noises heard when an air conditioner runs smoothly. Next, we’ll explore a few more common yet concerning AC sounds that could indicate a broken air conditioner.

Sounds That Should Make Your Ears Perk Up

When your air conditioner operates under normal conditions, you’ll learn to tune out the noise. The AC will run in the background keeping your home comfortable.

What happens when that quiet machine begins making strange noises?

Avoidance is not the answer. Here are the typical noises that could indicate trouble:

  • Banging
  • Buzzing
  • Rattling
  • Whistling
  • Bubbling or gurgling
  • Hissing
  • Screeching
  • Squealing

Hearing any of these noises can feel unnerving. However, loud noises don’t always mean a broken air conditioner. 

For example, loose screws, springs, and bolts often cause rattling. Sometimes twigs or debris caught in the outside AC unit cause rattling.

You can troubleshoot and apply some of the fixes we’ll share with you next. However,  for a quick and accurate diagnosis of common AC problems, it’s always wise to contact your local heating and cooling company.

Quick Fixes for a Loud Air Conditioner

Even some of the more noticeable noises don’t always indicate a broken air conditioner.

Those rattling noises? You can locate loose screws and bolts and tighten them yourself.

Buzzing sounds caused by loose fan blades or debris in your indoor or outdoor unit can also be handled by you. A dirty condenser coil can cause buzzing too.

Routine dusting or vacuuming of both the inside and outside of your air conditioning equipment helps keep dust and debris to a minimum. Seasonal inspections detect loose components. 

Remedy whistling noises by replacing your air filter and checking for blocked vents.

Screeching and squealing sound terrifying. Try lubricating the motor and see if it doesn’t quiet down. 

Hissing, bubbling, and gurgling can indicate a leak. You could have a refrigerant leak or an internal valve leak. Or you may have a compressor ready to break down.

Leaks and major component breakdowns don’t make good DIY projects. It’s best to call for help.

More Things You Can Do to Curb Air Conditioner Noise

While normal noises are cause for alarm, they can be irritating. No one enjoys spending time on the patio and listening to a loud air conditioner.

Sometimes those outdoor units get unbearably loud, don’t they? If you live in Texas, you spend a lot of time enjoying your outdoor space.

One way to curb the noise is to ask your Houston-area HVAC contractor to install a sound fence. It’s an enclosure that goes around the outside unit. A sound fence physically blocks noise.

You could also use a sound blanket, a.k.a., compressor blanket.

A sound blanket fits over the compressor. It blocks a considerable amount of the normal compressor noise.

One Final Remedy for Noisy Air Conditioners

Consider installing new cooling equipment when all else fails—or your air conditioner is nearing ten years of age.

Even though it might not be at the end of its useful life, a 10-year old system is likely costing you more money than it should. An older air conditioner probably has at least a few worn parts, which often cause noise.

Most new systems not only run more efficiently, but they’re quieter.

Here’s another advantage of installing a new system. You’ll save 20% to 40% on your cooling costs.

Less noise, less cost. What more do you need?

Reach Out Today for Help with Your Air Conditioner Issues

Whether you’re dealing with a loud air conditioner or experiencing other problems with your heating and cooling system, now is the time to reach out for help.

Hot weather is just around the corner. Don’t let a noisy or broken air conditioner keep you in the heat.

Contact GUY’s Air Conditioning and Heating today for service. We’ve been caring for Houston area HVAC problems for over 35 years. Let us help you enjoy a comfortable home year-round.