Don’t Ignore These A/C Noises in Sacramento

Sacramento woman listening while ac is making noises

We’ve all spent the night in a strange place only to be kept awake by a cacophony of odd noises. It’s not just the sound of someone else’s significant other’s snoring, either. From the sound of wind on the windows to the beep of the microwave, everything is different than we’re used to, and might even leave us wondering if the place is haunted. But what if your own home’s air conditioning doesn’t sound like it used to? Don’t wait for it to change its tune; get in touch with Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning for HVAC repair in the Sacramento area.

You should reach out to a professional if your air conditioner is making a pulsating noise or making a noise when off.

Normal Air Conditioner Sounds

Like anything mechanical, central air conditioners (and forced air heat systems) have a characteristic sound when they operate. When the thermostat hits its set point, for instance, you’re likely to hear clicks from the thermostat and controls. You’ll also hear the compressor and air handlers powering up, followed by the white noise of air moving through ducts, registers, and returns. When the process stops, you’ll hear everything powering down, some more clicks, and the return of silence. So far, so good.

Unusual Air Conditioner Noises

Not every AC sound is normal, so here are some noises you should keep an ear out for. They’re often an indication that something’s gone wrong with your AC unit.

Grinding or Humming

Some humming is to be expected when you’ve got electric motors running. But if that humming becomes much more pronounced or takes on a new urgency, pay attention. If that hum turns to a grinding or banging sound, shut the system down and call us immediately. That’s often an indication that a part is sticking or is off-kilter. If ignored, you may find yourself with an overheated unit or a fire.

High-Pitched Sounds

Sometimes you’ll hear a screeching or high-pitched squealing sound from your air conditioner. Your AC uses belts and bearings, and as they reach the end of their service life, they get noisy. Here again, don’t wait to call for service, because if these parts break they have a tendency to take out other parts of your system.


Airflow has a characteristic sound as it makes its way through your system. But if you’re a long way from a vent or grille and you’re hearing a hissing sound, there are a few potential causes depending on the location. Refrigerant leaks, overpressure in the compressor, valve leaks, or a bad seal in a duct can all lead to hissing noises. Best case scenario: your system loses efficiency. Worst case: it breaks down.

Repeated Cycling

Once your home cools down, your air conditioner shouldn’t have to run for a little while. If it’s short-cycling (turning on and off at short intervals), there can be a number of underlying causes, including faulty wiring or a broken thermostat. This puts unnecessary wear and tear on your system and can also send your utility bill through the roof, so it shouldn’t be ignored.

Sacramento Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance

If you’re ever unsure of the noise you’re hearing from your central air, call us at 916-455-4548. We’ll check your system, perform any needed repairs — or a simple HVAC tune-up — to ensure you stay both cool and safe this summer. The team at Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning is here — and happy — to help!