Why Is My Heat Pump Making Loud Noises?

heat pump making noise in a house.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” As human beings, it’s natural for us to pay attention to particularly loud things in our surroundings. In our daily lives, that could be a car horn warning us, a crying child, or an angry boss.

In your Clinton Township home, paying attention to unusual noises can be a helpful warning sign of home appliances or systems that may need attention. Our professionals at Great Dane Heating & Air Conditioning want you to be aware of the different sounds you may notice from your heat pump, what they could mean, and what you can do to resolve the problem.

If you hear loud swooshing noises…

Swooshing is nothing to be concerned about. Heat pumps generally make more noise during the winter and frequently make swishing sounds when they go into defrost mode. During this normal operation, noises coming from the compressor are part of the heat pump’s routine behavior.

If you hear noises during start up or shut down phases…

Start-up and shut-down noises are nothing to be concerned about. If you are a new Michigan heat pump owner, you may not be used to the typical sounds a heat pump makes when it’s first powering up or shutting down. For example, some heat pumps have a scroll compressor that clicks and taps when the heat pump is shutting down. During the start-up phase, your heat pump may be loud and sound as if the whole unit is shaking. That being said, if you have been a heat pump owner for many years and notice a sound that is not part of normal operation, it may be time to have a professional technician take a closer look.

If you hear metal hitting metal sounds…

Metallic sounds are a reason to shut down your heat pump immediately and take a look at the fan component. When metal hits metal, it’s usually the result of the fan blades hitting another component inside the heat pump or whacking a foreign object like an ice chunk. This loud metal on metal sound is an important warning sign to protect components such as your fan and motor.

If the problem is not solved by simply removing a foreign object, it’s important to have a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional take a closer look. Not only can you end up with a damaged or broken fan, but you may have other damage within your heat pump such as splits in the tubing or broken components.

If you hear rattling and vibration sounds…

Rattling and vibrations could signal a complex problem. Some normal vibrations can be muted by putting rubber pads under the heat pump to absorb the vibrations and make the unit operate more quietly. Rattling sounds could be caused by simple things like jiggling screws and cover panels that have become loose. In other cases, you may require an HVAC professional to determine the cause. For example, the coolant piping could be strapped too tightly, resulting in loud operation. Loose parts within the air handler should also be investigated by a professional.

If your heat pump is buzzing, grinding or gurgling…

These sounds require a professional HVAC technician for a correct diagnosis. Buzzing sounds may be caused by things like malfunctioning contacts or coils. Gurgling may indicate a low coolant level, and dirty motor bearings could result in a shrieking sound.

In general, heat pumps are an excellent investment. According to the Department of Energy, heat pumps can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 50 percent in some cases. Many of these noises and other problems can be mitigated by scheduling regular heat pump maintenance. Often, as a heat pump gets older, it tends to make more noises. By having your unit maintained in the spring and in the fall, you can ensure prompt repairs which will result in a more efficient operation of your heat pump. Proper maintenance can also extend the lifespan of your system.

Talk with our team of professionals at Great Dane in Michigan. We would love to tell you more about heat pumps, answer questions about problems and noises, or provide regular maintenance to keep you comfortable all year long. Call 586.790.2604 or contact us online today.

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