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Why Is My AC Outdoor Unit Hissing?


Article by Jason Fraser

Photography by Laurie Fraser

You don’t have to be a Argyle, TX, homeowner to know that air conditioner outdoor units make at least a little noise when they run. They click on with a slight clang, then comes the sound of the fan motor twirling up to top speed, a little extra vibration sounds, and, eventually, the sound of it clicking off. This is normal, and the result is a comfortable house inside. But when it comes to AC noises, we are occasionally asked, “Why is my AC outdoor unit hissing? Is that normal, too?”


In a word — no. There are normal noises common to any AC unit, and then there are ones that are new, noticeably louder, annoying, and obviously abnormal. There are a number of reasons for the hissing, and all of them mean something is wrong.


Examples of what AC outdoor unit hissing sounds like include the following:


•    Continuous sound of gas or air escaping

•    Hissing even when the unit is off

•    Audible whistling or screaming

•    A high-pitched shriek or squeal


Persistent AC Outdoor Unit Hissing Isn’t Normal!


An easy way to know whether or not you need air conditioner repair or service is to really listen to it. If it’s making any noise that wasn’t there before and didn’t go away after a few seconds or minutes, then it’s time to call a reputable HVAC contractor. AC outdoor unit hissing can mean all sorts of things, which we’ll discuss in a minute. But it typically signifies some sort of leak from one or more locations or that your system is creating pressure conditions that make it unsafe to keep running.


At A&A Air in Lantana, TX, we specialize in diagnosing and repairing any heating and air issue.


A few common culprits for AC outdoor unit hissing include but aren’t limited to the following:


1.   Refrigerant leak — Refrigerant is an internal liquid that aids your AC unit in blowing cold air. Without it, you’ll only get hot air. An easy way to spot low refrigerant is if you’re not getting any cold air inside your home and the coils on the outdoor unit are frozen. And because refrigerant is under pressure, it can make a hissing sound and even a bubbling sound as it escapes.

2.   High pressure in the compressor — The compressor’s job is to move refrigerant through the system. Sometimes, too much pressure can lead to a hissing or screeching sound and your system starting and stopping more than usual.

3.   Internal valve leak — Components only last so long under constant internal pressure. One of them is your system’s compressor valve, which controls the pressurization of the refrigerant and can begin to leak over time.


The last thing Argyle, TX, homeowners want is to discover their air conditioner is on the fritz. Sadly, this is a common struggle during the summer and can start as early as April as outside temperatures begin to climb for the first time in months. Needless to say, a working system is a must. If you hear constant AC outdoor unit hissing, turn off your system and call A&A Air.


Call A&A Air in Lantana, TX, Today!


It can be frustrating when your air conditioner is on the fritz. It’s even more alarming when you know that HVAC companies in Lantana and surrounding communities are a dime a dozen but are often too busy to schedule your service call quickly. At A&A Air, we take your family’s comfort seriously. We know our job inside and out and respond promptly.


All you need to do is give us a call today!


We proudly serve Lantana, TX, and surrounding areas. You can email us at or call 972-951-1320.Create an article.