If your air conditioner is humming, it could mean there is an electrical or mechanical problem. Take steps now to determine the issue with your air conditioner.
Potential causes of your cooling system’s humming can 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 breaks, it can produce 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 when it becomes overloaded. However, if the circuit breaker is malfunctioning and can’t, you may hear an electrical humming noise.
- Ice on condenser - if your unit freezes up, this can result in a loud humming or buzzing noise. If your air conditioner is frozen, there are a handful of other possible causes such as a refrigerant leak, clogged air filter or broken 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 close to the exterior condenser, you may mistake the source of the humming noise. With the AC running, determine 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 fails. If the indoor blower is on but the fan is not turning, your fan motor may emit a loud buzz. Some people perceive this noise as more of a hum than a buzz. There can be multiple causes for a failure of this component including debris entering the condenser, overgrowth around the unit, loose parts, etc.
- Loose components inside the air conditioner - Your HVAC system is a complex machine with plenty of moving parts. Over time, it’s possible that some 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 can sometimes sound like a humming noise. There may be other causes for a vibrating refrigerant line, such as an improperly mounted expansion valve.
A humming sound is evidence that something inside your air conditioner is off and needs a closer look. Given the causes above, it’s helpful to determine where the sound is coming from. Your entire HVAC system is interconnected. The air conditioner relies on adequate airflow to operate properly. 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 breaks, that can cause issues with your condenser unit located outside the home.
Fixing the AC humming issue does best with a technician to perform a diagnostic assessment on the whole unit. This work should never be attempted by a homeowner, but only by a certified technician. Your HVAC system has hazardous refrigerants running through it that should be safely handled only by a professional. Electrical components to your system should never be adjusted by a novice because of the danger 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 broken, 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 Matz-Rightway, we will not only diagnose your problem and provide recommendations to resolve things as soon as possible, we’ll also inspect your HVAC system as a whole. If your unit is better off 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.