Skip navigation

Serving Covington, LA


Professional Heating & Air Blog

The Sounds and Smells of an AC Unit in Need of Repair


When your air conditioner is having a rough time, it needs repair promptly. This way, problems can be resolved before they get any bigger. And you don’t want bigger problems! That means more extensive, costlier repairs, not to mention paying for the extra electricity your air conditioner will use while it’s struggling to function despite the problems.

We often hear phrases like “keep an eye out” or “watch for these signs” when we’re told to be alert to possible problems. The trick is that your air conditioner will probably look exactly the same when it’s struggling, so watching or keeping an eye out won’t help. When your AC unit needs repair, you’re most likely to notice the problem with your ears or nose. Here are the sounds and smells of AC trouble.

Sounds that Indicate You Need AC Repair

The bottom line is that you should never hear anything new or surprising from your air conditioner. Any unexpected sounds are always a good reason to get AC repair in Covington, LA. Your air conditioner should simply hum and whoosh steadily along. Here are some of the sounds that can indicate specific problems.

  • Boom: When the cooling cycle starts, the compressor should definitely not make a booming noise! This is called hard starting and has to do with the amount of power that is being drawn to start the compressor up. You might need a new capacitor to adequately supply the necessary power.
  • Rattle: This could be as simple as a loose screw allowing a component like a fan blade to wobble. Having it repaired right away will prevent something worse from happening, like the screw coming totally undone and the fan blade hitting other components and damaging them.
  • Bubble or Hiss: Refrigerant leaking from your air conditioner’s coils can make a hissing sound as it escapes, or allow air into the coils which then makes a bubbling sound. Loss of refrigerant makes the AC unit less effective and less efficient, and puts strain on the compressor, so get it checked out right away.
  • Click or Buzz: These sounds can be made by electrical components or wires. Electrical problems can cause fires, so don’t ignore these sounds.

Smells that Indicate You Need AC Repair

Simply put, your air conditioner should not smell like anything, ever. If it does, it needs at least a professional cleaning, and possibly repairs. Consult a technician promptly if you notice any of these smells.

  • Mildew: This could be coming from your ducts and vents or from the condensate pan and drain. If you smell it, there’s mold somewhere!
  • Sourness: A smell like vinegar or something spoiled can indicate that bacteria is growing somewhere in the system, probably in the condensate pan.
  • Sweet Chemicals: Refrigerant has an odd, sweet, chemical smell. If you notice it, that’s because it’s not in the coils where it belongs. You’ve got a refrigerant leak.
  • Hot Plastic or Fish: Did you know electrical fires can smell fishy? Any whiff of this or an overheated plastic smell are signs of a serious electrical problem. Turn off the AC and get help right away.

When you need it done right, contact Professional Heating & Air.

Comments are closed.