HVAC systems are powerful, so it’s only natural that they make noise during normal operation. You’ll hear them kick in, whir, rumble and make other similar sounds as they work. There are sounds, however, that shouldn’t be ignored as they may indicate trouble. How can you know the difference? Here are some things to pay attention to as you listen to your own HVAC system in action.
A buzz or hum is a normal sound as a system operates. It might get louder when your air conditioner or heat kicks on, but in general it’s more like background noise. A screeching or squealing sound, like you might hear from tires, is not normal. If you hear this type of noise you’ll want to have your system looked at by a professional.
Rattling is another sound that shouldn’t be ignored as it can indicate a problem with your fan hardware. In fact, operating a system that is rattling can lead to larger, more serious problems. If you start to hear rattling during any phase of operation, turn off your unit and schedule a service call.
The sound of air moving through vents is normal. How this sounds depends on many factors in your home, but it’s typically a very familiar sound that you hear every time your unit kicks into gear. A hissing sound, however, is not normal and may indicate improperly sealed duct work or a even a coolant leak.
Older systems tend to be noisier than newer ones, so it can sometimes be more difficult to recognize potentially problematic sounds. This is why it’s so important to listen to your system constantly so that you get familiar with what’s normal for your home. Pay attention to any changes you hear and be sure to call a professional for help with any questionable sounds.