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Strange Sounds Coming From Your Outside AC Unit? Here’s What You Need To Do

Closeup of outdoor AC unit fan

They are the sounds of summer — birds chirping, barbecues sizzling, lawn mowers roaring, and your outside AC unit making screeching and banging sounds.
If you hear a few summer sounds that don’t belong, don’t just ignore them. Let’s look at five strange noises that your outside AC unit can make and what they can mean.


You may want to ignore this clanking noise, but it may indicate an issue with a loose part, such as the compressor or fan blades.

Turn off the system and call an expert to investigate the noise and solution.


If you hear a screeching noise when you turn on your fan, but then the sounds stop, it may indicate the fan motor bearings are worn out.

While seasonal maintenance would assure that these bearings are properly lubricated, you could lubricate the bearings yourself to troubleshoot the problem.

Be sure to disconnect electrical power to the outdoor condenser before beginning any work on the unit.

If you are unsure that this is the cause of the noise or you are uncomfortable making this repair, get a professional to inspect your fan motor for a replacement or repair.


Buzzing sounds from your exterior unit could mean a few different things:

  • It could be caused by an electrical issue affecting the fan motor.
  • It could be caused by an electrical issue affecting the compressor.
  • It could be a sign your outdoor fan is going bad.

These issues all require the expertise of a professional to resolve the problem.


Your AC system uses refrigerant that is under pressure to cool your home.

When there is a refrigerant leak somewhere in the system, the refrigerant can create a hissing sound as it escapes through cracks in the pipes.

Even though newer AC units use environmentally friendly R-410 A or Puron refrigerant, homeowners should never handle a refrigerant issue.


Are you hearing the plop-plop sound of water dripping? It could simply mean you need to empty your AC drip pan.

However, the dripping could also be a sign of a frozen coil melting. Coils can freeze because of a dirty air filter or a malfunctioning thermostat.

While not an emergency, it’s a good idea to call a professional to ensure your system doesn’t have an underlying issue.

Call Russo Bros. & Co. for Air Conditioning Repairs & Tune-Ups

At Russo Bros. & Co., we can investigate all your AC problems and let you get back to enjoying the sounds of summer.

We are proud to be New Jersey’s go-to source for AC repair and maintenance services.

Call (973) 887-1334 or contact us online for a team with generations of HVAC expertise.