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Why Is My AC Making a Grinding Noise?

AC grinding noise

An AC that’s making grinding noises is concerning to any Alabama or Georgia homeowner who notices it. While you should be used to the gentle hum of your equipment as it runs, grinding noises are unusual and alert you to an issue with your air conditioning system. Learn what it means when an AC makes grinding noises and what to do about the problem.

Where Is the AC Grinding Noise Coming From?

When your AC is making grinding sounds, the first step is to figure out where the noise is coming from – the indoor components or the outdoor components?

Grinding Noise from Outdoor Air Conditioner Components

A grinding sound from the outdoor components of the system usually indicates compressor issues. The compressor is a component within the outdoor unit responsible for moving refrigerant through the system to facilitate heat exchange.

Grinding from the outdoor air conditioner unit may come from the compressor’s pistons. The pistons may start to produce this sound during operation as the compressor wears out. A grinding noise could also indicate other internal components of the system’s compressor have come loose or are broken.

Unfortunately, the solution here is to replace the compressor. A compressor replacement is typically recommended versus repairing the broken components because the compressor’s construction makes it prohibitive to access internal components. Replacement is a more affordable and less intensive solution.

However, grinding from the compressor and outdoor unit don’t always mean broken or worn-out compressor components. A grinding noise may also stem from the condenser fan.

  • When the condenser fan’s motor bearings wear out, the motor begins to produce a grinding noise as it operates. An HVAC technician can replace the motor to eliminate the noise and restore performance.
  • If a fan blade breaks or is damaged, the blade may rub or strike against other components as it rotates. The damaged blade needs to be repaired or replaced right away to avoid causing damage to other internal components of the condenser unit.

What to do: If you have an air conditioner that’s making grinding noises that come from the exterior air conditioning equipment, shut the system down and call for air conditioning repair. If you continue to operate your cooling system with the above problems present, further damage may be inflicted upon your system.

Grinding Noise from Indoor AC Components

If the grinding sound comes from the unit’s interior components, this sound typically indicates blower motor issues.

When bearings within the blower fan wear out, they can start to grind as the system runs. These bearings require regular lubrication, which is performed during a professional air conditioning maintenance tune up. When maintenance is skipped, bearings do not receive the attention they require and wear down, causing grinding and the need for replacement.

What to do: When a grinding noise originates from the interior cooling system components, turn the power switch off. Open the door and see if the squirrel cage fan is able to move freely. If not, you may be able to adjust it and tie it back down on the screw.

If it’s not accessible, contact your HVAC repair technician to address the issue.

Stop AC Grinding Noises with Energy Savers

If your AC is making grinding noise, call Energy Savers as soon as possible for fast and reliable air conditioning repair. Our NATE-certified air conditioning technicians accurately identify the problem and get to work quickly to implement the right repairs.

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