Why Is My Air Conditioner Making Noise Even When Its Off?

Most people expect their air conditioners to make some noise when it’s on. But if a buzzing type of sound persists even after your air conditioning shuts down, it might be because a component isn’t working correctly. Whether it’s a faulty motor or an erratic electrical connection, it’s worth checking out. Otherwise, your air conditioner may stop working altogether. 

Calling a professional technician is the best idea when your air conditioner is making noise, since they can quickly find the source and begin repairs. In the meantime, here’s some useful information about why your air conditioner may be noisy. 

First, Find Where the Sound is Coming From 

Tracing the sound back to the source can help the technician find out the possible causes. Your central air conditioning system is made up of two units. The outdoor unit disperses the heat collected from your home and cools it down with the refrigerant. This cooler air is sent to the indoor air handler, which ensures the conditioned air is sent into the ductwork. If the noise you’re hearing isn’t coming from either of these units, the problem may be located inside the ductwork itself. 

If the sound is coming from the indoor unit: When noise is coming from the indoor unit, it can often be because there’s something wrong with the blower motor. A faulty electrical connection will sometimes cause the motor to make a buzzing sound regardless of if the air conditioner is on. 

Occasionally, however, the noise comes from the condensate pump. This component helps drain excess moisture away from the rest of the AC system. It may continue to run after a cooling cycle is finished if there’s still moisture that needs to be taken care of. 

If the sound is coming from the outdoor unit: Just like the indoor unit, the outdoor unit has a fan and motor. But instead of sending cool air into your ductwork, this fan is used to dissipate the heat collected from indoors. A damaged connection could produce a similar buzzing sound, and since it’s outdoors, it can be a while before you notice it. 

The outdoor unit also houses the relay switch, an important component for stabilizing the voltage that enters the system. When this part makes a sound, it may have failed and will need to be replaced. 

There’s always a chance that a screw has shaken loose or a piece of debris has gotten trapped somewhere inside the system. This can happen to both the indoor and outdoor unit, and will result in a variety of noises depending on where the object is lodged. If this is the source of the irritating sound, you shouldn’t hear it for much longer after the AC shuts off. To make noise in the first place, it’d have to be close enough to something that could cause it to rattle against the unit housing. 

These Noises Are Most Often Because of an Electrical Problem 

You may have noticed that a lot of the possible causes of this unusual noise have something to do with electrical components or the connections themselves. Since these components won’t work without power, a malfunctioning electrical part is the most common reason you’ll hear something even when the air conditioner is off. After your technician has identified where the sound is coming from, they’ll likely start checking components such as the relay switch and compressor, as well as all connections. 

Even if you’ve found the source of your problem and think it’s an easy fix, it’s best to let a licensed and insured professional resolve electrical problems. 

Leave Electrical Problems with the Pros 

If your air conditioner’s electrical system is malfunctioning or damaged, hiring a professional is the way to go. There are several reasons why: 

  • Electrical problems can be hazardous: Service technicians have the training, licenses and insurance for safe and effective resolutions to electrical malfunctions. 
  • Improper repairs can end up doing more damage: Even if you think your DIY skills handled the problem, it may have ended up doing more harm than good. Air conditioning systems are still complex machinery, after all. 
  • Pros can spot other problems: Technicians with years of experience are more likely to recognize when something else is plaguing your HVAC system. They can handle it right there instead of letting the issue spread or worsen. 

Other Common AC Noises 

Getting familiar with a few other noises that can come from your air conditioner is a good idea. The next time something is wrong, you may be able to recognize it more quickly and call for professional service. A few other unusual noises include: 

  1. Trickling or Hissing: A leak is the most common culprit. Air leaks are inefficient but can be simpler to resolve. If the coolant is leaking, however, that could spell big trouble. Components related to the refrigerant supply are costly to fix and could end up resulting in having to replace the entire air conditioner. 
  1. Clicking or Ticking: When working normally, you’ll hear clicks as electrical components start up and direct the air conditioning to run. When there’s an electrical problem, these clicking sounds can happen at random. 
  1. Clanging or Rattling: These sounds are often because of a loose screw or a piece of debris. But sometimes it’s a piece of a more important component like the compressor. The compressor is airtight, so if something breaks off inside it, you may be stuck with an unpleasant rattle until it’s fixed. 

Call Mid-State Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing for Quiet, Comfortable Cooling 

If something doesn’t sound right, don’t wait to see if it goes away on its own. The faster a professional technician can start repairs, the quicker things can be resolved. You’ll appreciate a quieter air conditioner and efficient cooling. 

Schedule an appointment with the HVAC pros at Mid-State Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing today by giving us a call at 615-799-0427. 

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