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Proudly Serving Yakima, Ellensburg, Cle Elum, and the Surrounding Areas Since 1998


ThermAll Heating, Cooling & Electric Blog

Listen for These Warning Sounds From Your AC


This has been an extremely hot summer, and the heat isn’t done with us yet. Your air conditioning system has probably done some serious overtime during the season, and that makes it more important than ever to watch for any signs that it’s malfunctioning. Catching trouble early with an AC lets you schedule fast air conditioning repair in Yakima, WA that can prevent an even bigger and more expensive problem, including having to replace a completely dead AC. 

One of the most common warnings a struggling air conditioner will send is loud or unusual noises. The standard operating noises of an air conditioner are soft whirring and humming from the motors, the blowing of air through the vents, the dripping of condensate moisture, and some clicking sounds when the AC cycles down. When other sounds start to pop up, it often means trouble.

Here are the major sounds from an AC that will tell you it’s time to call our technicians.

Grinding and shrieking

These sounds are coming from the motors. Motors power the blower fan, exhaust fan, and most importantly the compressor. A mechanical shrieking noise occurs when the bearings in a motor begin to wear down. If you act quickly, you can have the bearings repaired and rescue the motor from burning out. Grinding usually means the motor is already burning out and will need to be replaced soon before it stops working entirely.


A sharp, loud metallic clang coming from an air conditioner is likely from trouble with one of the fans. A bent fan blade might be striking its casing or the blower assembly has come loose. No matter what’s causing it, it’s highly damaging and you’ll want it stopped immediately. Shut off the power to the AC and call for repairs.


This might be a simple problem: the door to the indoor HVAC cabinet hasn’t been shut all the way. If it turns out this isn’t the source of the sound, there may be loose parts inside the AC or parts that are coming loose. If you hear this rattling from the outdoor condenser and can see the cabinet vibrating, it may mean a dying compressor.

Hissing and bubbling

These two sounds point toward the same problem: refrigerant leaks. The refrigerant in its gaseous form hisses as it escapes through holes in the copper refrigerant lines, while liquid refrigerant makes a bubbling sound. Low refrigerant levels in an AC will eventually cause the compressor to burn out, and the air conditioner will lose cooling power and cost more to run until that point. Only HVAC professionals can seal refrigerant leaks and restore an AC to its original refrigerant charge.

Loud, continual clicking

You can expect to hear some clicking from an AC as it powers down: it’s the normal sound of motors shutting off. But if you hear clicking coming from the AC regularly at other times, or clicking that’s louder than normal, it often indicates the AC is hard starting: drawing on too much power to overcome initial resistance on the compressor. The sound can also warn of failing capacitors.

If you hear these noises or anything else from your AC that doesn’t sound normal to you, you only have to reach out to us to have the problem diagnosed and resolved.

Call ThermAll Heating & Cooling, Inc: We are “Your Home Comfort Hero!”

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