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Sound Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. Blog

Beware These Noises Coming from Your AC

woman-covering-her-earsAs you might imagine, summertime is the most likely season for your air conditioner to call it quits—or at the very least, start to experience operational problems. After all, it’s getting much heavier use than it does in the spring or fall. All mechanical systems accumulate wear and tear over the years.

There’s good news, though! You can usually avoid surprise repairs or sudden air conditioner breakdowns with routine professional maintenance. This gives our pros the chance to uncover any signs of repair needs or malfunction. It also allows us to comprehensively clean out the system to make sure it is properly functioning.

Even with diligent tune-ups, however, it’s always wise to be aware of the sounds you should (and should not) hear coming from your cooling system. The following sounds indicate something is wrong and you should give our techs a call right away.


Do you detect a grinding sound coming from your system as it runs? This may be because of a problem with the air handler. The air handler’s motor has oiled bearings that help keep friction as low as possible during system operation. Over the years, however, the bearings wear down, causing excessive friction on the air handler motor.

Once it gets bad enough, the motor begins making grinding sounds. If you hear this, please be sure to call us for repairs ASAP. The bearings will need replacing before the air handler motor overheats and burns out.


The good news is, there’s probably not a snake in your air conditioner! When we say hissing, we mean a noise that resembles air being let out of a tire, for instance. The culprit of this noise is probably air bubbles in the refrigerant line that indicate a refrigerant leak. The lower the refrigerant level is (called the refrigerant charge), the lower the overall cooling output will be.

Eventually, when your system’s refrigerant charge gets too low, your air conditioner is forced to shut down. Be sure to call for an inspection should you detect this noise, or if you notice fluid dripping from any part of your air conditioner—this is never a good sign, no matter the cause.


If you’ve read some of our previous blog posts, you’ve likely seen us mention short-cycling. It describes the process that an air conditioner or forced-air heating system goes through when it shuts off and turns back on in rapid succession, rather than in longer, regular intervals throughout the day. The issue with this is that it wears down on the system, and the desired temperature on the thermostat is never actually reached.

There are a number of reasons this may be happening, from improper installation right from the get go to a clogged air filter blocking airflow, or a more sinister problem deeper in the system. The most important thing to do if you hear your system short-cycling is to give our professionals a call.

Contact Sound Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. today for your air conditioning in Puyallup, WA.

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