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Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -

Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -


Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30-5:30PM
Saturday: 8:00-1:00PM


Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog

Weird Air Conditioner Noises, and What They Mean

air-conditioner-repairAir conditioning problems are more likely to occur during the summer, when strain on the system is highest. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for warning signs that your air conditioner is in trouble, so you can have it repaired before the problem gets any worse. One of the most obvious signs that your air conditioner is having some kind of issue is when it starts making odd noises during operation. Let’s go over some of the more common air conditioner noises that indicate a problem with the system.


An air conditioner circulates air throughout the home using an air handler. The air handler is basically a large motor with a fan attached to it. The part is put under a lot of strain during operation, so it uses oiled bearings to help it run more smoothly. These bearings wear out over years of use, causing friction in the air handler to increase. If you notice your air conditioner making a grinding sound during operation, make sure that you call for repairs as soon as you can. If you don’t, the air handler motor will overheat and burn out. It’s a lot more expensive to replace an air handler motor than the bearings, so don’t waste time.


Hissing and gurgling noises often mean that you have air bubbles in your refrigerant line, which means you have a leak. Air conditioners rely on the same amount of refrigerant throughout their lives in order to operate, evaporating and condensing it to move heat out of the home. As the leak drains refrigerant out of the system, the output capacity of the air conditioner will drop. Eventually, the refrigerant level will drop low enough that the air conditioner will break down entirely. If you notice fluid dripping from the system, have a professional check on it as soon as possible.

Short Cycling

Short cycling is when your air conditioner turns itself on and off every couple of minutes. It’s caused by a number of issues, including electrical issues and compressor malfunctions. In the short term, short cycling cuts down on the air conditioner’s ability to cool the home. Long term, though, the system dramatically increases the amount of wear and tear the various parts of the system accumulate. If you don’t have the issue fixed quickly enough, it can cause parts of the system to break down with increasing frequency. The repair costs for your air conditioner will rise significantly, and the overall lifespan of the air conditioner will be shortened significantly. If you hear your air conditioner short cycling, turn it off and call your HVAC technician as soon as possible. You don’t want to have to replace your entire air conditioner years before you otherwise would have to.

Saddleback Plumbing provides a full range of air conditioner repair services throughout Irvine, CA. If you need air conditioner repair services, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experts. We’ll make sure that your air conditioner is in top shape this summer.

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