My Air Conditioner Is Making Noise and Shaking

Written by steve smith
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My Air Conditioner Is Making Noise and Shaking
Air conditioners shake, bang and make noises during operation. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

An air conditioner has many moving parts, and they all make noise and cause vibrations. Some of these parts are more likely to causing shaking and loud noises, and sometimes this signals a larger problem, something to watch and scrutinise. If serious enough, it calls for a repair.

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Loose Parts

Loose parts cause the majority of shaking and vibration noises in your air conditioner. A few of the most common loose parts include the air compressor, the piston rods and even the fan or blower unit itself. These noises are clunking, clanking sounds that occur along with a vibrating action. The only method of repair is a complete compressor replacement, which is a repair only a certified air conditioner technician is qualified to make. The compressor is a fully sealed component, so individual parts in the compressor cannot be repaired.

Fan Blades

Fan blades cause noise, shaking and vibrations even when properly secured. If fan blades contact the exterior structure of the air conditioner due to a bent fan blade or broken and misaligned grate, a constant, repetitive noise and vibration results, which sounds like a ticking or banging from the interior of the air conditioner. Vibration in this case is limited but still present.

Mounting Brackets

When an air conditioner shakes, there is a problem with the mounting brackets. These brackets hold the air conditioner compressor steady as it operates. Normal vibrations and shaking would otherwise occur without these brackets. A loose mounting bracket causes the air conditioner to rock back and forth and creates a clanking sound. As the compressor starts up, this rocking and clanking sound begins, resulting in a very loud and fast vibration and noise. It also occurs when the unit shuts down.

Other Sounds and Vibtrations

Sometimes air conditioners squeal, hiss, hum or screech. Each noise is often accompanied by a vibration. Humming sounds along with a vibration may indicate a bad capacitor, the electrical part responsible for starting the machine. Hissing sounds tend to indicate a pressure problem while screeching and squealing sounds are fairly common in window air conditioners and in central air conditioners. This sound is also a result of the compressor motor. It usually starts when the unit turns on and continues through its normal operating cycle. Vibrations always occur in the air conditioner due to moving parts and the compressor motor's operation.

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