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Air Conditioning Noises and What They Indicate

Air conditioners make a lot of noise during operation. We know this. However, that doesn’t mean that all noises they make are normal. If you notice your air conditioner making unusual noises, it very likely means that there’s a problem with your system. Let’s take a look at some of the various noises that your air conditioner might make, and the problems they indicate.


Your air conditioner circulates air throughout the house using a part called the “air handler.” The air handler is essentially a motor and a large fan, which is constantly running as long as the system is on. In order to cope with the stress of moving all of that air, the motor has a number of oiled bearings to help reduce friction on it. As the bearings wear down, the friction on the motor increases until it breaks down and needs replacing. If you hear a grinding noise coming from your air conditioner, it means that the bearings in the motor probably need to be replaced.

Short Cycling

This isn’t so much a noise as a behavior, but you should still listen for it. If your air conditioner is turning itself on and off every couple of minutes, that means that it is short cycling. Short cycling is a behavior caused either by a faulty thermostat or a damaged compressor, which throws off the rhythm of the system. It traps the air conditioner into its startup cycle, putting it under a level of stress that it was not designed to handle. If you hear this happening, you need to call for repairs immediately. Otherwise, your air conditioner could end up breaking down.

If your air conditioner needs to have repairs, call Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning. Our expert technicians serve the entire Chicago, IL area.

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