Weird HVAC Noises You Should Never Ignore

July 11, 2017

During seasonal shifts, most homeowners rely on their HVAC systems to keep their houses comfortable. But if your peace and quiet is being constantly interrupted by unsettling sounds emanating from your furnace or air conditioner, chances are that you won’t enjoy spending time at home. These noises aren’t just annoying, though. They usually signal some very serious problems that could require extensive HVAC repairs or even replacement. And in some cases, the consequences of ignoring these noises could be dire. Keep your ears open for any of the following commotions and be sure to call your HVAC service right away if you experience any yourself.

HissingWe can’t think of one instance wherein hissing is a good sign. Snakes do it when they’re about to strike and cats do it when they’re threatened. When your furnace or air conditioner hisses, it’s a sign that something bad could happen. Typically, it indicates a refrigerant leak (as does a bubbling noise). Refrigerant gases can be extremely dangerous and can even result in poisoning, so you should not attempt to DIY this problem. Call your local heating and air conditioning technician to take care of the issue immediately.


While your air conditioner probably doesn’t operate silently, it definitely shouldn’t overwhelm your attempts at making conversation or watching television. Buzzing and vibrations usually mean there’s an electrical problem with your AC unit. It could be related to the circuit breaker, the condenser fan motor, wiring issues, or other components. Because these sounds could be attributed to any number of causes, it’s best to call the heating and air conditioning experts to ensure you actually get to the source of the problem.

Squealing Or WhiningIs

your HVAC system making shrill noises like screeches, whines, or squeals? It could have something to do with its compressor, belts, or fan motor, depending on the system. If you hear these noises only when you first turn the unit on, it could be the compressor and its motor. But if you hear these noises all the time during operation, it’s probably one of the blower system belts or the fan motor. No matter what, these sounds are extremely unpleasant, so you’ll want to call in the professionals right away.


This sound may not be quite as annoying as the others, but it should still be taken seriously. Clicking at the beginning and end of a cycle can indicate an electrical issue or a contactor problem. While the occasional clicking noise is nothing to worry about, you should schedule an HVAC home analysis if it continues. Since electrical components can be both complicated and hazardous, don’t take this one on yourself.

Rattling Or Banging

Rattling and banging can occur with both heaters and air conditioners, and these sounds often mean that a component has been damaged or has come loose. It may be that a part is out of alignment, but if it’s an older system (more than 12 to 15 years old), you may need heating and air conditioning replacement. Keep in mind that loose parts can be a hazard to the rest of your system, so if you choose to ignore it, you may end up needing total replacement anyway. It’s better to get it looked at as soon as possible.

It might be tempting to take a “wait and see” approach to these HVAC sounds. But that will probably end up costing you more in the long run. Instead of dealing with squealing, rattling systems all fall and winter, get them fixed before the first bout of bad weather comes. That way, you’ll all be protected and will get the tranquility you deserve.


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