Why Is My Heat Pump Making Loud Noises?

woman plugging her ears.

Whenever household appliances or overall home systems start making unusual noises in your Austin home, you may be rightly concerned. Although some noises may be common operating sounds, many may be a warning flag for problems to come. 

Our team at AiRCO Heating and Cooling wants to share the different sounds you may hear from your heat pump this winter and what they could mean.

Swooshing Boldly

Heat pumps are naturally louder during the heating season when compared with their operation as air conditioners in the summer. If you notice your heat pump is louder when you transition your system from an air conditioner to a heater in your Texas home, it may be normal operation noises. In addition, an initial swooshing sound may just indicate your heat pump is shifting to a defrosting mode.

Clicking, Tapping, and Shaking

If you have a new heat pump, get used to some of its typical noises. That way, if an unusual sound begins, you’ll notice the change. In general, heat pumps tend to generate a shaking or rattling noise when they power up to get going. If your heat pump has a scroll compressor, you may hear tapping or clicking when your turn off your unit.

On the other hand, these types of noises could indicate a problem if they are made while the heat pump is operating. If you have any concerns, you can always call a member of our heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) team to check things out.

Metal-on-Metal Sounds

When metal hits metal, the sound is not at all pleasant, and in the case of your heat pump, you should shut off your system immediately. Several possible situations, all of which can cause long-term expensive damage, may be responsible for this shrieking sound.

First, you may have something lodged near your fan system such as a stick or piece of ice. That should be removed before operation continues. Second, some interior component of your heat pump may have become loose or detached and is hitting the fan or the motor. And, third, your motor bearings may be worn down. 

All of these causes can create pretty significant damage if left unaddressed. Be sure to remove any foreign objects or have a professional come and repair your heat pump before turning it back on.

Rattling Vibrations

Noises that sound like ongoing rattling or vibrations can also come from your heat pump. If the noise is part of general operations, you can insert some rubber pads under the heat pump to try to reduce the sound and vibrations. Problems flagged by these types of noises may include a coolant pipe that’s tied too close to the unit, loose control panels, or other unsecured parts in your duct system or air handler.

Buzzing or Gurgling

A host of other noises may be coming from your heat pump that can signal other potential malfunctions. For instance, buzzing sounds could be generated by coils or contactors, and a low level of coolant may generate gurgling noises. 

The bottom line is if you’re uncertain about the causes of unusual sounds from your heat pump, it may be time to call an HVAC expert. Our trained technicians are skilled at diagnosing different problems and finding their root causes. Tackling noise problems early on can save you more serious and expensive damage later on.

Operating as Usual

Even if your heat pump is just making its normal noises, don’t forget to schedule an inspection, cleaning, and tune-up before the bulk of the heating season begins. The US Department of Energy (DOE) recommends having a professional inspection at least once a year. Preventative maintenance always beats emergency repairs in terms of cost, time, and stress.

AiRCO—Your Heat Pump Experts

If you can’t identify the cause of your strange heat pump noises, call AiRCO in Austin and Round Rock Texas. Our professionals would be happy to come and check out the noises and let you know if there’s a problem as well as help repair it. Call 512.537.1234 or request service online today.

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