Why is my air conditioner making a humming noise?

May 31, 2019

 

If your air conditioner is humming, it could mean there is an electrical or mechanical problem. Take steps now to identify the issue with your air conditioner.

 

Potential causes of your cooling system’s humming may include:


  • The condenser fan motor on the unit might be unable to spin but is still connected to power, creating resistance that results in a pronounced—and often loud—humming noise.
  • There could be a mechanical or electrical [malfunction|failure|breakdown]9] with the contractor relay switch, which is responsible for starting the outside unit when the indoor temperature arrives at the level where cooling is needed. When the contractor breaks, it can create a humming sound. The switch should be in the exterior condenser unit outside your home.
  • The circuit breaker is overloaded - normally, your circuit breaker trips when it becomes overloaded. However, if the circuit breaker is damaged and won’t, you may hear an electrical humming noise.
  • Ice on condenser - if your unit freezes over, this can result in a loud humming or buzzing noise. If your air conditioner is frozen, there are a few other potential causes such as a refrigerant leak, clogged air filter or faulty blower motor. A broken blower motor will sometimes create a humming or buzzing noise, and is located in your furnace. If the furnace is located close to the exterior condenser, you could mistake the source of the humming noise. With the AC running, check to see if the humming or buzzing is louder near the exterior condenser unit or the furnace.
  • The AC Condenser Fan Motor is damaged - like the blower motor failing, a broken condenser fan motor can also cause a humming noise when it fails. If the indoor blower is running but the fan is not turning, your fan motor may emit a loud buzz. Some people perceive this sound as more of a hum than a buzz. There can be several causes for a failure of this component including debris entering the condenser, overgrowth surrounding the unit, loose parts, etc.
  • Loose components inside the air conditioner - Your HVAC system is a complex machine with plenty of moving parts. Over time, it’s possible that a few parts came loose due to typical wear and tear. A loose part may cause premature wear and loud noises, including a humming noise.
  • Refrigerant pipes are vibrating - If the refrigerant lines are undercharged, it can cause vibration. This vibration may sometimes sound like a humming noise. There may be other causes for a vibrating refrigerant line, such as an improperly mounted expansion valve.

 

 

A humming sound is a sign that something inside your air conditioner is off and needs attention. Given the causes above, it’s beneficial to determine where the sound is coming from. Your whole HVAC system is one unit. The air conditioner relies on adequate airflow to operate correctly. Air blows through the air filter, and it’s the blower motor (located inside the furnace) that pushes air through the entire system to heat or cool your home. If the air filter is clogged, or the blower motor breaks, that can cause issues with your condenser unit located outside the home.

 

Resolving the AC humming issue requires a technician to perform a diagnostic assessment on the whole unit. This work should never be completed by a homeowner, but only by a trained professional. Your HVAC system has hazardous refrigerants running through it that should be safely handled only by a professional. Electrical components to your system should never be adjusted by a novice because of the risk of electrocution. Homeowners are better served hiring an HVAC company to examine and repair their system if they notice any odd humming, whirring, or buzzing noises coming from their unit.

 

If a component like the blower motor is damaged, it may be because your furnace is near the end of its life. The blower motor is not a component that needs to be replaced regularly. Working with Epperson Service Experts, we will not only diagnose your problem and provide recommendations to resolve things as soon as possible, we’ll also assess your HVAC system entirely. If your unit has to be replaced, we have affordable options with top tier service available through financing. We also have the Advantage program that will get you a new system for a low monthly rate.

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