If your air conditioner is humming, it may mean there is an electrical or mechanical problem. Take steps now to verify the issue with your air conditioner.
Possible causes of your cooling system’s humming could include:
- The condenser fan motor on the unit could be unable to spin but still has power reaching it, 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 required. When the contractor malfunctions, 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 if it becomes overloaded. However, if the circuit breaker is faulty and cannot trip, you can hear an electrical humming noise.
- Ice on condenser - if your unit freezes up, this can produce a loud humming or buzzing noise. If your air conditioner is frozen, there are several other likely causes such as a refrigerant leak, clogged air filter or malfunctioning blower motor. A broken blower motor will often create a humming or buzzing noise, and is located in your furnace. If the furnace is located near the exterior condenser, you may 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 broken - similar to the blower motor failing, a broken condenser fan motor can also create a humming noise when it breaks. 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 part including debris rattling against the condenser, overgrowth near the unit, loose parts, etc.
- Loose components inside the air conditioner - Your HVAC system is a complex machine with a large number of moving parts. Over time, it’s possible that a few parts broke 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 your refrigerant lines are undercharged, it can cause vibration. This vibration will sometimes sound like a humming noise. There may be other causes for a vibrating refrigerant line, like an improperly mounted expansion valve.
A humming sound is evidence 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 entire HVAC system is interconnected. The air conditioner needs adequate airflow to operate efficiently. Air blows through the air filter, and it’s the blower motor (located inside the furnace) that moves air through the entire system to heat or cool your home. If the air filter is dirty, or the blower motor malfunctions, that can cause issues with your condenser unit located outside the home.
Fixing the AC humming issue requires a technician to perform a diagnostic assessment on your whole unit. This work should never be completed by a homeowner, but only by a certified technician. Your HVAC system has hazardous refrigerants running through it that should be carefully handled only by a professional. Electrical components to your system should never be adjusted by a novice due to the risk of electrocution. Homeowners are better served calling 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 lifespan. The blower motor is not a component that needs to be replaced on a regular basis. Working with Levy & Son 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 needs 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.