Air conditioners are complex systems that rely on numerous parts, such as a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are typically robust and reliable, it’s not uncommon for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is wrong. One of these sounds is dripping, gurgling, bubbling or running water. These distressing noises can be attributed to several sources.
1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise
This is an often reported air conditioner sound you could hear on hot, humid days and is no reason for alarm. Simple condensation buildup is most likely to blame. As your air conditioner operates, moisture from the indoor air collects on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan underneath. This pan is meant to collect and move the condensed water away from your home via a drain line. Then again, if the drain becomes plugged or damaged, water can accumulate in the pan, leading to a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool down below. If the dripping noise becomes too irritating, identify the drain pan under the indoor portion of your air conditioner and remove the water.
Also, take AC dripping sounds as a warning sign that the condensate drain line is plugged and must be cleared. A float switch should automatically shut off your conditioner before the drain pan overflows and creates water damage, but the float switch could always fail. Plus, if your AC keeps turning itself off because of a full drain pan, you’ll need to correct the issue before your unit will operate normally again.
2. The AC Sounds Like Water Is Running
While air conditioners make condensate as a part of the cooling process, they do not run on or use water. This means your AC should never sound like running water. If you hear this water noise, it might be because the evaporator coil has frozen over and is now thawing and dripping water onto the ground.
This can develop for a few reasons, including:
- Dirty air filter: A filter choked with dust, dirt and other debris blocks airflow. This may lead the temperature inside the evaporator coil to get below freezing, which then freezes the condensate gathered on the coil.
- Low refrigerant level: Chilled refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air as it goes through the evaporator coil. If the system is undercharged or seeping out and the refrigerant level is low, it loses the ability to absorb the heat. This can cause the temperature to drop below freezing and ice to build up on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and grease may accumulate on a neglected evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and stopping the refrigerant inside it from absorbing heat. When this takes place, the coil could freeze.
- Failing thermostat: Poor temperature calibration might cause the air conditioner to run continuously, even when the indoor temperature is already at the desired degree. Continuously running an air conditioner can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes over.
- Blower issues: The blower forces air over the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working right or running at a low speed, the lack of airflow can freeze the evaporator coil.
3. The AC Makes a Gurgling or Bubbling Sound
Refrigerant is a vital ingredient in the cooling process. If a leak forms or air has become stuck in the refrigerant line, you may hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Along those same lines, your system could very well gurgle as a result of overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC repair work to a professional who can ensure the right refrigerant charge.
4. The AC Makes a Hissing Noise
A hissing noise from your air conditioner could signify one of these malfunctions:
- Refrigerant leaks: Depending on the site and seriousness of a refrigerant leak, it may create more of a hissing noise than a gurgling or bubbling sound.
- Issues with the compressor: The compressor located in the outdoor condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it flows through the air conditioner. This part of the system may make a hissing noise if it is faulty.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that manages refrigerant flow through the compressor may also leak and hiss.
Schedule Air Conditioning Services
If you hear a sound such as running water from your air conditioner, take steps to determine and address the cause to stop further damage. [companyname] can detect and fix any concern causing your AC to sound like running water, whether that’s condensation buildup, a refrigerant leak, a clogged drain line or a frozen evaporator coil. Each and every AC repair comes with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or set up a repair estimate, please contact [companyname].