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“What’s That Funny Noise My AC Is Making?”

outdoor-ac-unitWhile it may seem like summer only just began, soon enough the official start of fall will be here and we’ll stop using our air conditioners on a daily basis as we have been. With how much work your air conditioner went through this summer we hope you scheduled Salt Lake City HVAC maintenance before the season began. After all, our air conditioners go through a lot, accumulating wear and tear faster than AC systems in cooler regions.

During your air conditioner maintenance appointment, our pros will fully inspect, clean, and adjust your cooling system to make sure it’s performing as efficiently as possible. However, regardless of whether a system has received this service or not, if it’s making a sound you don’t recognize, it’s probably time to call in a pro. What noises, exactly, should you be aware of? Read on!


While it depends on if the refrigerant is in gas or liquid form, you’ll hear a bubbling or hissing when refrigerant is leaving the system. There’s a fairly common—and yet, mistaken—belief that refrigerant is something that “runs out” like gasoline does from a car. But refrigerant is not a fuel—rather it’s a recycled fluid that should ideally last the HVAC system’s entire lifespan.

Refrigerant leaks are a bigger deal than many homeowners realize, because they deprive the air conditioning system of the fluid it needs to cool the living space. As the refrigerant charge (refrigerant level) in your cooling system declines, so too does the system’s ability to cool the home. Eventually, the refrigerant level will drop low enough that the air conditioner won’t be able to sustain operation and will break down. Be sure to give our pros a call the moment you hear this sound or notice a lack of cooling.


The air handler is the indoor component of your air conditioning system and is tasked with circulating air throughout the home while the system is in operation. The air handler motor is put under a lot of strain while the system is operating, so to help it cope, the system has a number of oiled bearings.

Eventually, however, these bearings wear down and the friction on the air handler motor increases. This causes the motor to emit a grinding noise while the system is operating. If you hear this sound, it’s time to call for repairs. The bearings will need to be replaced before your air conditioner overheats and burns out.


Short-cycling describes the process in which an air conditioner turns itself on and off rapidly without ever completing a full cooling cycle. It’s typically the result of an electrical problem in the system. Short-cycling prevents your air conditioner from providing sufficient cooling, and also accelerates the rate of wear and tear on your system.

If short-cycling is allowed to go on for too long, your system will become more and more likely to break down in other ways and will likely have a shortened lifespan as well. If you hear your air conditioner rapidly turning on and off, be sure to give our pros a call.

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