Heat Pump Sounds Like Helicopter – What Could Be Wrong?

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Are you getting worried about your heat pump? Or does it frustrate you with its helicopter sound? Worry no more because we have already researched the answer for you.

If your heat pump unit sounds like a helicopter, that could be a mechanical problem. It may be from an outdoor unit issue, duct noises, or the indoor air handler issue.

Of course, when you figure out what causes the problem, you'll know what the solution is. So we've included troubleshooting tips to help you determine the cause. Please keep reading to learn more.

, heat pump sounds like helicopter - what could be wrong?

Three Reasons Why Your Heat Pump Is Making Helicopter Noises

You can use heat pumps efficiently to keep your home cozy throughout the year. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work in good condition. It can also have damages and issues as it ages. When your heat pump begins to create weird noises, you may need repair or replacement.

Below are the three primary reasons why your heat pump is making helicopter noises:

1. Outdoor Unit Issue

Usually, your heat pump unit will need cleaning and repair if you hear noises from the outdoor unit or the compressor. Common outdoor unit and compressor noises incorporate a whirring like a helicopter, rattling, buzzing, and vibrating sounds.

Heat pump which needed cleaning

We suggest that you should not prolong the outdoor unit issue. Immediately call an HVAC professional to avoid further damage.

2. Duct Noises

A popping or cracking and whirring noise in the heat pump's ductwork can imply a shortage of vibration dampening. You will know that the ducts are damaged if you hear a whistling sound. Call an HVAC professional to have an inspection.

3. Indoor Air Handler Issues

Most loud noises coming out from your indoor air handler are because of not installing it correctly or possibly the heat pump's aging. If it is an older system, it may require repairs or replacement.

It is a damaged valve, fan, belt, rod, thermostat, or crankshaft if you hear a clicking noise. Furthermore, a helicopter, buzzing, or rattling noise means a refrigerant leak, which is destructive for your HVAC system.

And to give you advice and keep you well-informed, exposure to refrigerant leaks is dangerous to your health and can direct you to refrigerant poisoning if it is a massive leakage.

An HVAC professional can quickly fix the problems above. DIY repairs are good only if you have proper training and knowledge about heat pumps.

Normal Heat Pump Noises

The noise that a heat pump unit produces usually shows what it is doing. However, the level and duration of the noise should not vary much from day-to-day operations because if they do, there may be a problem ongoing.

1. Sounds Made by Start-Up and Shut-down

Like an unbalanced washing machine load, it will produce a thumping sound when you startup a heat pump. On the other hand, the compressor may create a pinging or tapping-clicking sound during shut-down, just like what you hear from a cooling car engine.

This weird noise should only last for a minute or two.

Normal noises coming from heat pump startup

2. Noise Made by A Defrosting Heat Pump

Cool air develops around the evaporator coils during the heating process. The coils can freeze or build ice since it is cold outside, and such things can make the heat pump less efficient. Once the heat pump senses it, it will automatically defrost itself.

The rattling, whooshing, and vibrating sound will seem loud; however, it will last only several minutes.

3. Noise Made by Starting or Stopping

When you start or stop the heat pump unit, it will create a clicking sound. The possible cause of this sound is the relays and switches that are

A clicking sound may also be heard when the appliance starts or stops. It could be relays and switches or the ticking associated with the expansion or contraction of metal components.

4. Noises Made by The Fan Motor

You can locate the fan motor at the top or side of the unit that moves a massive amount of air over the coils for the heat conversion process.

And as the process goes, there should be a quietly consistent rotational whir noise.

5. Noises Coming From the Heating or Cooling Process

While the heat pump is under various modes of operation, electrical relays, coils, and contactors are energized and make noise.

6. Staring Process Noises

Squealing heat pump units are due to the starting process. It could be both high-pitch or just a quiet whistle. This particular sound may last for not more than two minutes.

If this sound is not typical for your heat pump unit, this means brewing trouble.

Disturbing Noises

It would be best to familiarize your heat pump as much as possible. Note that you will need a replacement when the noise is already too much to handle. It usually happens when your unit is overly old.

However, we made this section for you to know that these noises are not just a random matter. We suggest that you immediately call a professional if you hear these unless you have proper HVAC training, then you can repair them yourself.

1. Loud Vibration

Rattling or loud vibrations usually indicates that some parts become loose, especially if the noise gets louder over time.

The solution you could only do here is to locate where the sound is coming from and tighten the loose parts. Additionally, if there is a continuous vibration, the coils might be strapped too tight.

2. Clanking Noise

A loose or worn belt commonly causes a clanking noise. Moreover, some loose parts or dirt build-ups may also cause this noise.

3. Tumbling Rocks-Like Noise

A compressor that produces a noise like tumbling rocks or popping indicates something alarming. It may be from a liquid from the refrigerant entering the compressor. Not immediately fixing this may lead to total heat pump damage.

4. Banging Metal Noise

Some loose parts and ice build-ups cause this particular noise. When you hear a metal banging sound, turn off the heat pump immediately without thinking twice.

The possible cause is the fan blades; they might be hitting something that may damage its fan, blades, or motor. If things come to worst, if the blades shatter and fly off, it will also damage the other parts of the heat pump.

Particular noise coming from the heat pump that has loose parts or damage fans

5. Grinding Sound

This weird sound means some parts of the heat pump badly need cleaning or lubrication.

If you ignore it and don't even bother to clean the heat pump, it will lead to a loud shrieking or squealing sound.

6. Shrieking Sound

A shrieking sound is bothersome and uncomfortable to hear, which means a significant concern.

It indicates that the compressor is encountering more pressure than usual and is dangerous. It would be best to shut the heat pump immediately to prevent further damage. Moreover, this can also mean that the motor is failing already and needs a replacement.

7. Gurgling Noise

A gurgling noise comes from a low refrigerant, and it affects the performance and may damage the heat pump's components.

8. Squealing Sound

Dirty bearings cause this squealing noise. If it is uncommon to your hearing, the fan or the pump's motor is deteriorating.

9. Humming or Loud Buzzing

This specific noise indicates an internal relay, contact, switch, or capacitor is failing or stuck. You will notice that it is an issue with the motor, especially if the heat pump should be running, but it isn't.

10. Hissing Noise

Hearing this sound signifies a leak someplace in the refrigerant system. Expect the heat pump unit to momentarily fail if you can hear the loud and sizeable hissing sound.

How To Troubleshoot A Noisy Heat Pump

It is time to make an effort to fix it. And if you are planning to repair it alone, we are providing you with guidelines on how to fix it quickly. Don't let your heat pumps quit the operation!

Cut off the disturbing noises from your heat pump unit by:

  • Leveling the heat pump
  • Cleaning the fan blades
  • Tightening the mounting bolts
  • Installing vibration absorbing pads
  • Securing some of the loose parts
  • Unclogging the entire drains
  • Replacing some of the noisy parts
  • Removing all the leaves and debris

Maintenance or troubleshoot for heat pump issues

Noise Level of A Heat Pump

The noise level of a heat pump's indoor component should be at least between 17dB and 26dB. When we talk about who's doing almost all the work, it is the outdoor heat pump. We suggest you put your heat pumps as far from neighbors and your windows as possible.

Noise regulations run in communities, and the heat pump sound is not an exemption. The enforcement is stricter when the heat pump unit is closer to the property line. A standard noise is acceptable at the nearest property line, and it is less than 42dB.

Most recently bought heat pumps have a noise range between 50dB and 90dB. More extensive units need to heat and cool bigger rooms, producing louder noise. Some quiet heat pumps have a noise range between 40dB and 60dB.

If you think your heat pump unit is louder than it should be, check the manual to see its sound rating. You can buy or borrow a sound meter. In addition, there are free sound meter applications online that you might use for sound meter checking.

Check this Decibel Meter on Amazon.

Summary and Recap

damage unit needed troubleshooting, heat pump sounds like helicopter - what could be wrong?

If you care about your heat pumps, do not ignore the weird noises it produces. It is necessary to have it checked by a professional to maintain its quality and energy efficiency. Take good care of your heat pumps since it means taking good care of your health, as well.

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