A heat pump is essential to your home’s heating and cooling system, designed to provide comfort and maintain a consistent indoor temperature.
However, if you’ve noticed unusual noises coming from your heat pump, it’s natural to feel concerned. A normally quiet and efficient heat pump suddenly producing sounds can be indicative of an underlying issue that requires attention.
Let’s explore the possible reasons behind a noisy heat pump, the types of noises you may encounter, and the steps you can take to address the problem.
Understanding the causes of these sounds can help you diagnose the issue and determine whether professional assistance is necessary.
Is It Normal For A Heat Pump To Make Noise?
Heat pumps remove heat from indoors and deposit it outdoors as the temperature rises during summer. There are some unusual noises your heat pump may make as it reverses the process during the winter.
The swooshing noise you will hear when your heat pump goes into defrosting mode during the cold winter months is normal. Heat pumps make all these noises as part of normal operation and usually don’t cause any concern.
A heat pump will emit noises upon starting and shutting down, which is typical.
The sounds you hear are entirely normal and are expected. You should pay attention to the duration of the sounds since they should only last up to a minute or two.
A new heat pump may make strange noises, so knowing what is normal and abnormal is essential. The typical operation of a heat pump may be comparatively louder for homeowners who have been using a more conventional heating and cooling system.
For example, a heat pump’s scroll compressor often makes a loud noise when it starts up. Some heat pumps shake so much that it sounds like the entire unit is shaking. When shutting down, heat pumps normally produce a clicking or tapping noise.
Reasons Your Heat Pump Is Making Loud Noises
You might be hearing loud noises from your heat pump for the following reasons:
Indoor Air Handler Problems
It is normal for your indoor air unit to make loud noises when it gets old or improperly installed. This system might need repairs or replacement, depending on how old it is.
If your engine makes a clicking sound, it could indicate a damaged fan, belt, pistons, valve, rod, thermostat, or crankshaft. A refrigerant leak can damage your HVAC system if you hear a buzzing or rattling noise.
Furthermore, large leaks may cause refrigerant poisoning if exposed to a large amount of refrigerant.
You might hear creaking or popping in your ductwork if there is no vibration dampening. Additionally, a whistling sound could indicate damaged ductwork. Let your HVAC technician investigate further.
Outdoor Unit Issue
When your compressor or outdoor unit makes noise, your heat pump must probably be repaired. The most common noises from a compressor or outdoor unit are rattling, vibrating, or buzzing.
Occasionally, electric heat pumps make popping or buzzing noises. It is possible to hear a buzz or vibration from a failing motor. A malfunctioning valve or solenoid will also make a hissing, whooshing, or vibrating sound. Call the professionals immediately for further protection if you hear any of these noises.
Common Heat Pump Noises
There is no problem with heat pumps making noise. Unlike an air conditioning system, a heat pump consists of a big box with a fan inside.
It is common to find them mounted on the outside of houses or outside of a house. Listening to these common noises lets you know if your heat pump needs to be serviced.
Fan Motor Noise
When the heat pump’s fan turns on, you may hear some noise, but it is not usually troublesome. Ideally, this loud noise should not be obnoxiously loud and should be consistent and smooth.
Humming or Buzzing Sounds
You may hear a humming or buzzing sound as electricity passes through your heat pump. It is normal for coils and contractors to hum as electricity flows through them since they are part of the electric system.
A heat pump can also help keep us warm during the winter. Despite this, some parts of the body may freeze over during the cold weather. You may hear your heat pump go into defrosting mode several times if it is frigid outside.
When this occurs, you should expect the heat pump to make a “swooshing” sound. There’s nothing wrong with your heat pump; it’s just trying to stay warm.
Startup and Shutdown Noises
Whenever the refrigerant in the heat pump changes from a liquid to a gas, there is usually a loud noise at startup. People sometimes notice that they hear their heat pump sounding out of balance when it starts.
There will be a vibrating noise that comes from the compressor, but it should stop after a short time. Similar sounds might be made when your heat pump shuts off.
For you to figure out when your heat pump might need to be repaired, it’s essential to know what noises are normal to hear from a heat pump.
Other Types Of Heat Pump Noises Explained
When working with heat pumps, it is important to be attentive to new and unfamiliar sounds. Heat pumps typically make a lot more noise than conventional heating and air conditioning systems. Here are a few typical sounds that may indicate a problem.
Grinding, Buzzing, And Gurgling
There are often reports of grinding noises caused by dirty motor bearings. Malfunctioning contacts or coils can cause a buzzing sound.
It is normal for your heat pump to make gurgling sounds if it needs to recharge its coolant. It’s essential that trained HVAC technicians handle these issues to ensure your equipment is protected.
Vibrations And Rattling Noises
The presence of new sounds, such as rattling or vibrating, may indicate a simple problem, such as a loose panel, which can be easily fixed with a few screws tightened.
It may be a good idea to put down a rubber mat when installing your heat pump if your home has excessive vibrations.
Nevertheless, some rattling noises may indicate an HVAC issue, such as too-tight coolant piping or an air handler malfunction.
Loud Metal Banging
A fan, for example, is often the cause of audible metallic-sounding noise. Maybe one of the components within your heat pump has come loose and is being hit by the fan blades.
It’s possible that a foreign object has made its way into your system, such as a stone or chunk of ice. If you hear loud banging sounds, turning off your system and searching for the cause is important.
Your heat pump’s fan, motor, and other components can be protected by HVAC technicians who will inspect and repair it as necessary.
How To Quiet Your Heat Pump?
If you hear any of these loud noises, start by replacing the air filter. You should turn off your unit and inspect it if unusual noises persist. Ensure that any debris outside has been cleared. The rattling noise can also be prevented by tightening loose bolts and screws.
Repair, Replace or Move it?
There are heat pumps that are located in inconvenient places, such as outside a bedroom window. There can be a perception that the noise is worse than it is.
If you’re, you’re not sure how old your heat pump is a good idea to check it. The average lifespan of a heat pump is between ten and fifteen years. In addition, it may be time to replace yours if it is more than that old.
Your HVAC technician can help you with compressor sound blanket wraps and vibration insulation damper mounts if you’re most concerned about heat pump vibration noises. It may be possible to muffle the sound with these.
Repair & Replacing Parts
As a general rule, repairing strange sounds makes sense first. Assuming your heat pump or air conditioner is in good condition, this is a logical decision.
It should be noted, however, that how old your HVAC system is playing a vital role in your decision. It is common for heat pumps to last between 10 and 15 years.
When repairing an expensive part, such as a compressor, a whole unit may be more cost-effective in the long run.
Replace The Heat Pump Or Air Conditioner
According to the above comment, a whole unit may be more cost-effective in certain situations.
You might consider replacing and repairing a part only if it costs more than 1/3 to half the cost of a whole unit replacement.
Considering the additional savings that can be gained by installing a more energy-efficient system, this can seem more economical.
Moving The Unit
Moving a heat pump unit to reduce noise can be more expensive and difficult. The process of moving and reinstalling is complex, time-consuming, and expensive.
There are some limitations to how far away you can move a unit from the building. When you have a noisy heat pump, you should try one of the two options above before considering moving it.
Maintaining your heat pump will help prevent noisy units. You can achieve this by having a professional perform regular heat pump maintenance twice a year.
Doing this before the weather gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer is a good idea. It ensures that your heat pump works properly, so your heating and air conditioning won’t go out in the middle of the night.