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Sound Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. Blog

“Bang! Clang! Hissss” Sounds You Should Never Hear from Your AC

woman-covering-her-earsIt’s never a good sign to hear alarming sounds coming from your air conditioner. Sure, there’s no such thing as a silent air conditioner, but you know the sounds yours makes from day to day. You hear the fans whirring, the compressor starting up and shutting down, your outside unit running, and maybe even your ductwork fluctuating with the temperature and airflow.

What you shouldn’t hear is banging or clanging, hissing, grinding, or short-cycling. Wondering what all these sounds mean? That’s what we’re here for! Read on as we uncover why these sounds are so detrimental to your air conditioner’s functionality.


It might be apparent, but this typically means that something is coming loose in your air conditioner. It could be a belt, a fan, or even the panel on the unit coming unscrewed. There are many components within your air conditioner that allow it to function effectively and efficiently.

While your air conditioner might not break down right away if a component is coming loose, letting this issue go on too long can lead to that component failing, and therefore your whole air conditioner failing.


Have you walked by your air conditioner’s outdoor or indoor unit and noticed you hear a sound that resembles air being let out of a tire? Or maybe the sound is like something bubbling? This is a sign that you have a refrigerant leak!

There’s a fairly common misconception that refrigerant is something that’s supposed to deplete, like gasoline does from a car. It’s not a fuel though. It shouldn’t run out. If it does, it means there is a leak, and eventually this will lead to an air conditioner failure.


As we mentioned above, there are a number of components inside your air conditioner that help it function as it should. Part of these components is lubricated bearings for the motor and fan. Over time, as a natural part of wear and tear, the lubrication wears off and the bearings start creating friction, which causes the grinding sound you hear.

Replacing bearings and lubricating your system is a typical service we provide, but the sooner you have it done once you hear your system grinding, the better!


Short-cycling is the process when your air conditioner turns itself on and off rapidly—every few minutes instead of regular, 15-minute cycles. This is typically the result of an electrical problem somewhere in your cooling system. It prevents your cooling system from providing sufficient cooling, and causes your system to wear down faster. So, short-cycling is both the symptom of a problem and a cause of a problem.

If you hear your system doing this, or if you hear any of the above mentioned sounds, it’s time to give us a call. It’s no coincidence when you hear something out of the ordinary—it’s always a sign that something is amiss. It may be minor, but minor issues can grow into emergencies if not managed right away!

Contact Sound Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. today for AC repair in Tacoma, WA!

We take your comfort as serious as you do.

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