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Picture Rocks Cooling Heating & Plumbing Blog

Wait, What’s That Sound from My AC?


Your air conditioner will always make some noise. It’s got a big job to do, after all. But there are certain sounds that indicate that it’s operating properly—the hum of the compressor, the whir of the fan—and other sounds that indicate your AC needs repairs.

If you hear anything sudden, loud, or unexpected from your air conditioner, you need to get a technician to take a look at it. Here are some of the sounds an AC unit might make, and what kind of issues could cause it to make those noises. 


This one might not be extremely loud, but if it sounds like there are bees in your air conditioner, shut it off right away and call for AC repair in Oro Valley. The most likely cause of a buzzing sound is an electrical issue, and you don’t want to short out the system entirely or worse, cause a fire. (Actual bees are very unlikely to be the problem … but technically, it’s possible.)


This might sound very alarming, but the source of the problem could be simple and easy to fix, like a broken fan belt. Do get it checked out promptly, because a belt flapping around in there could damage other components, and your air conditioner won’t be able to work properly without the belt, anyway.


This sound happening at the start of a cooling cycle, rather than the milder sound of the compressor starting smoothly, is called a hard start. It indicates a problem with the compressor, which operates like a heart, pumping the refrigerant through the entire system and circulating back to the compressor. Just as your heart is critical to your functioning, the compressor is critical to your AC unit’s functioning. Get repairs while it might be fixable, before you need to replace the compressor or the whole unit. 

Hiss or Bubble

These two sounds generally mean the same thing: a refrigerant leak. As refrigerant escapes from your air conditioner’s coils, its cooling power will drop significantly, causing you to waste money on constant attempts at cooling while still being overheated. The damaged section of coil can be repaired and the refrigerant refilled, so call for a technician to get that done.


There’s probably just a loose screw, a wobbling panel, an off-kilter fan, or a section of ductwork coming loose. Any of these things are easy to repair. But without repairs, if that screw or fan comes completely free, it could easily cause expensive damage to more critical components, so don’t ignore this sound. 

Avoiding Future Problems

Once the cause of the strange noise has been repaired, you can decrease the likelihood of a problem occurring again in the future by scheduling annual maintenance for your AC unit. In addition to cutting down on repair needs by approximately 85%, this will also improve efficiency, decrease wear and tear, and extend the life of your air conditioner. 

Contact Picture Rocks Cooling, Heating & Plumbing today to schedule an appointment with our professionals.

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