3 Times You Need To Worry About AC Condenser Sounds

Posted on: 27 May 2022

Your air conditioning condenser is probably the noisiest part of your air conditioning system. The condenser is the large box outside your home, and it's responsible for numerous critical functions. This case houses the coils that release heat back into the outside world and the compressor that pumps refrigerant through your air conditioning system.

Since the condenser lives outside, it's not usually necessary for it to be hushed. You'll typically hear the compressor kick on if you're standing nearby and may even notice the sound of the condenser fan running. However, some noises indicate that trouble is afoot. If your condenser is making any of these three noises, it's time to call in an HVAC contractor.

1. Grinding or Metal-on-Metal Sounds

Your condenser includes two important mechanical components: the compressor and the condenser fan. The condenser fan helps release heat from the condenser coils while also keeping the compressor cool. While a faulty compressor may sometimes make harsh noises, grinding or metal-on-metal sounds usually originate with this fan.

Turn off your AC and check for any debris stuck in the fan if you hear these noises. In some cases, the problem can be as simple as a stuck branch or twig. If these steps don't resolve the issue or the fan isn't running, you'll probably need a pro to help. A faulty condenser fan can reduce system performance and damage the compressor, so it's not a problem you can ignore for long.

2. Buzzing

Your compressor draws more power than any other component in your AC system, so it relies on one or two capacitors to help smooth out the electricity flow. A failing capacitor will prevent your AC from turning on or, in less severe cases, cause it to struggle before eventually getting going. Unfortunately, these hard starts can potentially cause damage to the compressor.

If you hear a loud buzzing noise and your compressor doesn't seem to be turning on, that's a good indication that you may have a faulty capacitor. You may also hear a buzzing sound before the capacitor starts, indicating that your capacitor is failing even though it's still working well enough to get the compressor running.

3. Loud Humming

The compressor typically makes a humming noise as it runs, but even older units shouldn't be disturbingly loud. If your compressor is suddenly making a loud humming, it may indicate that the compressor is beginning to wear out. The sound may be continuous, or you may only notice it as the compressor starts running.

While a failing compressor will eventually force you to replace your AC system, you may still be able to repair the problem, albeit temporarily. If your AC is humming as it struggles to start, a hard-start kit may resolve the issue, allowing you to get several more years out of your existing system before you need a new compressor.

To learn more, contact an AC repair service.