However, they can make some strange noises from time to time. It’s helpful to know when these sounds are cause for concern, and when they’re ordinary noises.
The System is Switching Modes
Heat pumps can both heat and cool your home. This means that the system will occasionally need to switch back and forth from one mode to another. In winter, you’ll notice the system makes a loud whoosh for a few seconds as it starts its defrost cycle. While defrosting, the compressor is typically a bit louder than usual. Sounds that last for a short period are usually normal, and nothing to worry about. This is particularly true in fall and spring seasons when the heat pump is switching modes often.
Your Unit is Vibrating Outside
The outdoor unit for your heat pump might make a buzzing noise while it’s operating. This consistent sound may seem alarming, but it’s usually a normal part of operation. The system naturally vibrates while it’s in use. You can minimize any buzzing or other associated noises by setting the unit on a rubber pad. If the sound persists, have an HVAC technician check the installation. You may find that the piping is strapped too tightly to your home’s joists and studs, exacerbating the sound.
There’s a Foreign Object in The Motor
Are you hearing a loud banging, rattling, or thwapping noise in the outdoor unit? This is usually an indicator that some foreign object has made its way inside. Depending on the severity of the sound, this could be anything from a twig or leaves to wire or tubing. If you hear this type of sound, turn off the unit immediately to prevent further damage and contact a professional.
You Have Broken Parts
Any whining, grinding, or squealing noise in your heat pump indicates an issue that you should contact a professional HVAC technician about. This typically means you have a broken part, but it will take some heat pump troubleshooting to find the source. This could be a belt, blower, or other element. Don’t disassemble the unit hoping to identify the cause yourself. Fiddling with your heat pump will only make the issue worse if you’re not certified in HVAC repair. Seasonal HVAC maintenance can help prevent these types of issues.
You Need a New Filter
You should change the filter in your heat pump once every one to three months. With a clean filter, your system will operate more efficiently, and you’ll have the benefit of better indoor air quality. If the filter is clogged or dirty, you’ll notice a subtle wheezing sound. Popping in a new filter will instantly resolve the issue.
If your heat pump doesn’t sound as it should, the best call is to contact an HVAC professional as soon as you can. Prompt repairs can prevent the problem from getting worse.