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Serving the South Puget Sound and Western Washington Areas Since 1976

Serving the South Puget Sound and Southwest Washington Areas Since 1976

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Sunset Air Blog

Weird Air Conditioner Noises and What They Mean

Air conditioners are loud machines, and make a number of different noises while they’re running. If you’ve had your air conditioner for at least a couple of weeks, however, you probably know exactly what it’s supposed to sound like under normal circumstances. What if the system starts making unusual noises while it’s running, though? Let’s take a look at some of the more common weird noises that air conditioners tend to make.


A grinding sound coming from your air conditioner often means that the bearings in the air handler motor are wearing out. The bearings are in place to reduce friction on the motor while it circulates air throughout the house. If the bearings start to wear out, friction on the motor will increase until it eventually burns itself out. Replacing a motor is far more expensive than replacing the bearings, so be sure to call for repairs if you hear this noise.


A gurgling sound is caused by air bubbles forming in the refrigerant line, which means that there is almost certainly a leak. This is a serious problem, as the air conditioner relies on refrigerant to keep the home cool. If a leak goes unnoticed and unfixed for long enough, it will completely drain the air conditioner of the refrigerant that it needs to cool the home. This will result in a steady decline in the system, until it finally breaks down completely. If you hear a gurgling sound coming from your air conditioner, you need to call an HVAC technician immediately to come look at your refrigerant line. We’ll find and seal the leak, as well as refill the refrigerant in the system to restore proper function.

If your air conditioner is making strange noises, call Sunset Air. We serve the entire Olympia, WA area. 

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