If your outdoor central air conditioning unit is making rattling noises, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. It’s a very common complaint—no doubt doubly annoying if it’s a neighbor’s A/C unit that’s rattling or otherwise making loud noises.
After all, a neighbor who doesn’t maintain or attend to a loud air conditioner can be a source of tremendous frustration, as a harsh-sounding A/C unit that’s seemingly running all the time can be a real detriment to your quality of life.
The good news is that a rattling central air conditioner is not necessarily indicative of a serious problem.
Generally speaking, older A/C units tend to be louder than newer models, which are typically more efficient, last longer and run quieter than those of the past. At the same time, though, an outdoor A/C unit—which typically includes a condenser, compressor, electrical components and a fan—can be noisy and produce a lot of vibration even under normal operating conditions.
In fact, it’s the vibration from normal operation that can lead to loose hardware (like loose bolts or screws). If the air conditioner makes a loud noise when starting, there’s a good chance it’s a hardware issue. Noisy air conditioner compressors could be due to a problem with the electrical relay switch.
Alternatively, rattling could be caused by sticks, twigs, leaves or other outdoor debris that has made its way into the unit. While systems are designed to keep larger debris out, small debris can easily get inside and build up over time.
Noise Caused by the Air Conditioner Compressor
On the other hand, a rattling noise can be indicative of a serious issue. Often it’s a problem with the motor in the compressor, which is one of the good reasons to replace your AC unit, ranking right up there with a condenser coils issue or problems with the heat exchanger.
In other words, a rattling noise (or other type of noise) may be advance warning that the compressor is on the road to breakdown, as compressors typically express signs of failure before breaking down completely.
Although the sound you’re hearing is obnoxious, it’s arguably better that the problem is obvious, as other symptoms of a bad compressor can be more subtle—diminished airflow from your air conditioning vents, for instance.
Quiet Your Noisy Air Conditioner
So if you’re hearing a rattling noise coming from your air conditioner we encourage you to contact us online or give us a call at (615) 469-5965. We offer residential HVAC service and repair in Nashville, Davidson County and most of Middle Tennessee.
Also know that regular preventative HVAC maintenance can help keep noise to a minimum—which both you and your neighbors will appreciate. Ask about Jewell Mechanical’s HVAC Energy Savings Agreement, which includes two maintenance services per year (typically one in the spring and one in the fall), as well as other benefits like discounts on repairs and priority customer status.