My HVAC Sounds Like A Washing Machine – Why? What To Do?

As the season changes, adjusting your HVAC system is a must. And the continuous adjustment of your HVAC can be the reason why it produces different noises. One familiar sound is like an operating washing machine. We want to help you know why this happens and what to do about it, which is why we have conducted thorough research on this topic. 

Your HVAC sounding like a washing machine is normal. You don't have to worry about it since this noise only means the system is currently operating. And this also means that you can leave it be.

Good thing that washing machine noise is normal. So you won't need to do anything about it. However, aside from that whirring sound, there are still additional noises that your HVAC system might produce. Please keep reading to determine if those sounds are normal or not. Let's delve into the details!

outdoor-air-conditioning-heat-pump-units, My HVAC Sounds Like A Washing Machine - Why? What To Do?

What Is HVAC System

Before anything else, it would be best to know what is an HVAC system first.


An HVAC system comprises a heating system, a cooling system, and ductwork. The term stands for "heating, ventilation, and air conditioning." 

The Cooling Sources

  • Air Conditioner
  • Heat pumps can also be of use in fulfilling the cooling requirements in average climates.

The Heating Sources

There are three heating sources in an HVAC system, and they are:

What Is HVAC Ductwork?

In an HVAC system, the ductwork is what you refer to as the "deliver or transit" instrument that delivers the conditioned air throughout your home. 

What Noises Can HVAC Make? 


There are sounds your HVAC system can make as it operates. These noises are hard to identify if they are normal or a sign of wear and tear. It is true, especially if you are new to encountering those sounds. Below are the most common HVAC noises you might hear:


This noise is what homeowners refer to as a washing machine sound. And as we have already mentioned, this noise is normal in an HVAC system while operating. Additionally, know that the main reason your HVAC produces this is because of the moving components, and some parts normally touch each other.


Whistling in an HVAC is undoubtedly bad for your system. It is true if the whistling is too loud. In this case, the main problems are the refrigerant and the pressure. It could be because of either or both:

  • a refrigerant leak is occurring
  • the pressure building up inside the system is too much

If you have ever encountered these problems, fixing them right away would be best because these are dangerous for you and your family's health and the system itself. So, without hesitation, you should immediately call an HVAC professional to fix these issues. 


There are several reasons why this noise occurs. If the sound is coming out of the outdoor unit, it is because it's dirty or something obstructs the unit, like debris, leaves, or a twig. Additionally, dirt and debris may also enter the components of the outdoor unit.

It would be best to completely switch off the HVAC system from the breaker to stop the noise. Then remove the dirt and debris you see on the outdoor unit. However, if you notice some damage or deterioration to some components, it is highly advisable to call an HVAC expert to prevent further damage immediately.



Humming noise is also normal in an HVAC system, especially if it is just a soft sound. However, if you notice that it is somehow the same as a clanking noise, know that your HVAC might have a problem. It is likely because of loose components like:

  • blades
  • pipes
  • blower motor fan

And since these parts are loose, expect they will bang on each other. 

Furthermore, if you think the noise is too loud for a humming sound, it would be best to check the circuit breaker, wiring, and condenser fan. It is because one of those three, or maybe the three of them, causes the sound. 

It is highly advisable to address this sound immediately, so you should ask for the help of an expert to help you out. This sound, if ignored, could lead to more considerable damage.


A clicking noise is normal every time you switch your HVAC system. However, you should know that it is not normal if you hear a loud clicking noise from the cabinet of your system. 

In most cases, this indicates that you need to replace your capacitor. Once you notice this sound on your HVAC, switch it off immediately and call for the help of a professional. Know that this can permanently destruct your HVAC system if not fixed immediately.


A hissing sound is one of the most common noises an HVAC can produce. It is because of the escaping air while the HVAC operates.

Loud Hissing

You'll know that the system ducts have a leak if you hear the loud hissing sound from the walls of your home. The main disadvantage is the high electricity consumption, because of the escaping air. If you wish to fix this loud hissing issue, you should go for the help of a professional because it is not something you should do yourself.

Soft Hissing

On the other hand, if you are dealing with only a soft hissing, you may want to check your air vents. The issue with this one is either:

  • improper placement of the filter
  • wrong filter size

In this simple noise, you can complete a DIY fix. All you need to do is ensure that you provide your HVAC with a proper size filter and place it properly. It is highly advisable to ensure that you don't leave any gaps. 

How To Maintain HVAC Systems


Installing HVAC systems in homes is indeed expensive, from the materials, installation, and units. But the costs are worth it since they are extremely useful for every home. And for you to maximize the lifespan of your HVAC, you should do the following maintenance:

Conduct Regular Inspections And Cleaning

Regularly inspecting and cleaning the entire system should be your first priority. 

You should call a professional to get your HVAC system ready for the next season after each season ends. Moreover, those check-ups can also determine the HVAC issues you cannot notice because they are hard to tell or identify. Keep in mind that HVAC systems having damage or wear and tear are way more expensive to fix than regular cleaning and check-ups. 

Inspect The Filters Of Your HVAC Regularly

One of the most crucial components of an HVAC system is the filter, and cleaning it regularly or checking it for damage is a must.

If you ignore it being dirty and leave it in that state, expect that it will prevent the air from flowing properly in the system. In that case, it will make it operate harder than usual and deal the most damage to the blower motor. And to prevent this from happening, regularly cleaning your air filters would be best. Ensure that there's no dirt and debris accumulation every time you use the HVAC.

Click here to check out these HVAC system filters on Amazon.

Keep The Location Of The Outdoor Units Free From Any Obstructions

As mentioned above, it would be best to clear the area of your HVAC outdoor units from twigs, tall grasses, shrubs, and anything that can hinder their performance.

As you clean your outdoor area every day, you should do the same with your HVAC outdoor units and run water using your garden hose if you ever notice some dirt and debris buildup. Additionally, you should frequently trim those plants you wish to retain, ensuring that they won't reach the surface of the outdoor unit. Two feet is the suggested distance from the unit.

Ensure To Provide Your Indoor HVAC Units With Clear Surroundings

Just like what you should do with your outdoor unit, it would be best also to conduct it with the indoor unit. You should remove all the obstructions from the indoor unit-- everything that can affect its operation.

Collect and dispose of all the unnecessary things around it because they could hinder the airflow and might damage the entire HVAC. 

Give Your HVAC System A Break

Most homeowners, especially in the U.S, let their HVAC system work continuously. Some don't even turn it off for the slightest time. That's too much for the HVAC system to handle, which is what most homeowners don't consider. As long as they are comfortable, they won't let their HVAC systems rest even for just a while.

So, if you are one of those, you should change your habit from now on. Allow your system to get a break once in a while. Doing so will prevent it from getting overworked and stressed. It can also prolong its lifespan, allowing the HVAC to continuously operate efficiently. 

It's A Wrap!


Good thing that your HVAC system is in its normal condition even if it produces a whirring or washing machine noise. It is just unfortunate that this is not the only sound it might make. However, you must not worry anymore since all you have to do is accomplish everything we have mentioned in this post about how to fix all the unwanted sounds from your HVAC system.

We hope you find this post helpful to your concerns. If you still have additional questions, feel free to reach out in the comments, and we'll get back to you. Furthermore, if you wish to continue reading, you can check these posts out:

Are My HVAC Duct Dampers Open Or Closed? Here's How To Tell!

Is It Better To Have A Dirty Air Filter Or No Air Filter In HVAC?

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