AC Compressor Making Noise: 6 Common Causes & Sure Fixes

Is your AC compressor making noise? Well, it’s more than just a mere annoyance, it’s like your AC is trying to communicate. It’s saying, “Hey, something’s not right here!” and it’s up to you to decode these sonic clues. But worry not, this guide will take you on a journey to understand why your AC compressor is making noise, the types of noises you might hear, and what to do about it.

AC Compressor Making Noise
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The answer is yes, but not all noise is a cause for concern. Let’s delve deeper to understand this better.

Normal Operational Sounds

When your AC compressor is happily doing its job, you’ll likely hear a soft humming or buzzing sound. It’s like the content purring of a well-fed cat. That’s just the sound of the motor running and the refrigerant flow. Nothing to worry about here!

When Noise Indicates a Problem

But what about when that gentle purring turns into a loud meow? Unusual noises like loud humming, buzzing, rattling, or hissing could indicate a problem. It’s akin to your body running a fever – it’s a symptom that something is not quite right.

Types of Noises in AC Compressor

Now, we’re getting to the interesting part. There are several types of noises you might hear from your AC compressor, and each one can tell a different story.


Does your AC compressor sound like a swarm of bees? A buzzing noise could be a sign of an electrical issue. It’s akin to hearing static on a radio – something is interfering with normal operation.


If you hear a clicking noise when your AC turns on or off, it could be a sign of a failing thermostat or control relay. It’s like hearing the click of a light switch – it should happen once, not continuously.


A loud humming noise could indicate a problem with the compressor motor. It’s like listening to a car engine that’s struggling to start – it’s trying to do its job, but something’s holding it back.

Clanking or Rattling

Clanking or rattling noises are usually a sign of loose or out-of-place parts. It’s like when you’ve got a loose piece in a puzzle box – you can hear it rattling around every time you move the box.

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Why is Your AC Compressor Making Noise?

So we’ve decoded the noises, but what’s causing them? Let’s delve deeper.

Mechanical Issues

Just like an old car, AC compressors can experience mechanical issues due to wear and tear or loose parts.

Wear and Tear

Over time, the internal components of your AC compressor can wear out, causing it to struggle and make noise. It’s like an old pair of shoes – they can start to fall apart after years of use.

Loose Parts

Loose parts inside your AC compressor can move around and cause noise. It’s like having a pebble in your shoe – it’s small but can cause a lot of discomfort!

Electrical Issues

Electrical issues, like power overloads or a failing start capacitor, can also cause your AC compressor to make noise.

Electrical Overload

If your AC compressor is overworked, it can overload the electrical circuit and cause a humming noise. It’s like an overloaded truck struggling to climb a hill – it needs a break!

Start Capacitor Failure

If the start capacitor fails, your AC compressor might struggle to start, causing buzzing or humming noise. It’s like trying to start a car with a dead battery – it just doesn’t want to go.

Refrigerant Issues

Problems with the refrigerant, like low refrigerant levels or an overcharge, can cause your AC compressor to make noise.

Low Refrigerant

Low refrigerant levels can cause your AC compressor to work harder than it should, resulting in a humming or buzzing noise. It’s like running a marathon without enough water – it’s going to be a struggle!

Refrigerant Overcharge

On the other hand, too much refrigerant can also cause noise. It’s like trying to fill a water balloon too much – it’s bound to burst!

How to Fix an AC Compressor Making Noise

So, you’ve got a noisy AC compressor, and you’re wondering what to do about it. Well, we’ve got you covered!

DIY Fixes for Common Noises

There are some simple fixes you can try yourself, like tightening loose parts or replacing the filter. It’s like fixing a squeaky door hinge – sometimes, a little elbow grease is all it takes!

When to Call a Professional

But if the noise persists or if you’re uncomfortable doing the fixes yourself, it’s time to call in the pros. They have the tools and knowledge to diagnose and fix the issue. It’s like calling a mechanic when your car is acting up – sometimes, it’s best to leave it to the experts.

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