Why Is My Air Conditioning System Making Grinding and Clicking Noises When It Starts?

Odd noises coming from an air conditioner are a way that the system warns us that they have repair needs. There are many different sounds that can indicate you should call for professional air conditioning repairs: hissing (possibly escaping refrigerant), clanging (a bent fan blade), and screeching (worn down bearings in the motors). One of the most common set of warning noises are grinding and clicking sounds that occur whenever the air conditioner’s compressor tries to turn on.

What do these sounds mean?

There is no single answer to this question, but there is a likely answer, which is that the air conditioner is hard-starting.

What does that mean? An air conditioner is hard-starting whenever the compressor encounters difficulty turning on. This may be a problem with the compressor itself, or it may lie in the motor that runs the compressor or the voltage that powers the motor. Although there are a number of different causes for hard-starting, the warning sounds are usually the same. Resistance in the compressor or the motor will create a mechanical grinding noise, which might remind you of when a car engine is struggling to turn over. (Car engines can hard-start as well.) The clicking sound probably comes from the start capacitor, the component responsible for sending voltage to the compressor motor to start it running.

Although your air conditioner may still turn on and provide you with cooling when it is hard-starting, it is something you want repaired as soon as possible. A hard-starting AC will cost more to run, and the extra stress placed on the motor and compressor will soon lead to damage. Damaged motors will need replacement. If the compressor becomes damaged, it often means that the whole air conditioner needs replacement.

The moment you suspect hard-starting in your AC, call on Magic Touch Mechanical in Phoenix, AZ for professional air conditioning repair.