Normal and Abnormal HVAC Noises

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Concerned by the noises coming out of your heating and air conditioning equipment? There are some noises that can alert you to issues in your heating and cooling equipment while other noises are just a result of day-to-day operation. Sometimes, it can be hard to discern a normal noise from an abnormal noise. Make sure you keep an ear out. If your system is not brand-new, but you are noticing a brand-new noise, it’s time to call a contractor.

Be aware of the following noises:

  • Air moving in your ductwork. This is completely normal. It’s just an indication that your equipment is running. However, if you notice a loud hissing or it seems like there is a change in airflow, it may be time to call a contractor. This could indicate that there is a blockage or leak in your ducts.
  • Hum from your outdoor condenser. Even the quietest, most efficient air conditioner will make some noise while it’s operating. Newer units that have noise reduction features may be quieter than an everyday conversation, while an older air conditioner may make its presence known every time it kicks on. Just make note of changes. If your air conditioner starts making loud bangs or thumps, turn it off and call a contractor.
  • Squeaks during startup or shutdown. This is entirely dependent on the type of system you have. If your unit is newer, and has never squealed while starting up, this can be an indication that a part is dirty of lose. However, a squeak may be normal for an older air conditioner. Generally, a squeal in any unit is an indication that it is time for a tune up.
  • Scurrying, thumps or abnormal noises from your ductwork. It pays to get your ductwork inspected. Household pests may decide to make your ductwork their home. If you hear what sounds like an animal moving behind your walls or vents, have someone come out and inspect your system.
  • Popping or crackling inside your ductwork. Metal ductwork expands and contractors as it is heated and cooled. This is completely normal. However, if the pops are interfering with your daily routine, there are possible solutions you can discuss with your local contractor.

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