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Bartels Heating & Cooling Blog

Should I Hear Clicking From My AC?


On our blog, we sometimes talk about ways you can tell if you need air conditioning repair in West Chester, OH, such as strange behavior: short-cycling, a drop in airflow from the vents, the circuit breaker tripping, and unusual odors. Strange sounds from an air conditioner are one of the major warning signs we tell customers to look out for. These sounds include grinding, mechanical shrieking, bubbling, hissing, and rattling. Oh, and clicking.

Except clicking isn’t always a sign of a problem. Let’s get into clicking from your air conditioner and when it’s fine and when it’s not.

Normal clicking sounds

If you’ve heard clicking from your air conditioning system before during its normal operation and didn’t detect anything else wrong, then you probably heard the standard clicking sound of the AC as it completes a cooling cycle and powers down. This is similar to the noises you may hear from a car engine when it shuts off—and the cause is the same. You’re hearing the standard sound of mechanical parts powering down. If you only hear a few of these clicking sounds from your air conditioner when it turns off, you’ve probably got nothing to worry about.

Clicking at start-up

If you hear clicking from the air conditioner when it starts up, either with just the fan or with the compressor as a cooling cycle begins, there’s potentially several problems. The sound could be coming from the relay switch for the compressor. It can also indicate trouble with one of the motors: when motor capacitors start to die, they will make a clicking sound. When the capacitors die, the motor won’t be able to start or stay running. The clicking can also warn of general hard-starting, which is when the compressor has to overcome more resistance to start running. In most cases, our technicians can replace or clean a part to fix this problem. We may need to replace capacitors or add a hard-start kit to the compressor.

Continual clicking

Are you hearing a clicking sound that stays constant whenever the air conditioner is running? This probably means something is wrong with one of the fans: a blade is bent or broken and making this noise as the fan turns. This might not seem urgent, but we recommend having it repaired soon before the fan starts to create damage and begins to impede airflow.

Clicking + other problems

When you notice your air conditioning system making clicking sounds while it’s exhibiting other problems, there’s a strong chance the two are connected. This is a warning to shut off the AC and call us for repairs right away. Watch for issues such as the outdoor unit visibly vibrating and other odd sounds like mechanical grinding and shrieking.

If your air conditioning system won’t turn on and you hear a clicking sound, the problem is likely in the control board for the AC, although near-dead capacitors or a faulty thermostat could also be at fault.

No matter what problem you’re having with your AC, you can trust our team to have it fixed fast.

Call Bartels Heating & Cooling “For a Comfortable Way of Life”!

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