Air conditioners are complex systems that rely on various elements, such as a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are usually sturdy and reliable, it’s not unheard of for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is amiss. One of these sounds is dripping, gurgling, bubbling or running water. These worrisome 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 cause for alarm. Simple condensation buildup is likely the culprit. As your air conditioner performs, moisture from the interior air accumulates on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan beneath. This pan was created to capture and direct the condensed water clear of your home via a drain line. Although, if the drain becomes blocked or compromised, 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 a nuisance, locate the drain pan under the indoor portion of your air conditioner and clear it.
Also, take AC dripping sounds as a signal that the condensate drain line is blocked and must be cleared. A float switch is supposed to automatically shut off your conditioner before the drain pan overflows and produces water damage, but the float switch could always break. Plus, if your AC keeps turning itself off because of a full drain pan, you’ll have to correct the drain pan issue before your unit will run normally again.
2. The AC Sounds Like Water Is Running
While air conditioners create condensate as a component of the cooling process, they do not run on or utilize water. This simply means your AC shouldn't sound like running water. If you hear this noise, it might be because the evaporator coil has frozen over and is now thawing and dripping water onto the ground.
This can take place for a few reasons, including:
- Dirty air filter: A filter clogged with dust, dirt and other particles blocks airflow. This may lead the temperature inside the evaporator coil to drop below freezing, which then freezes the condensate gathered on the coil.
- Low refrigerant level: Chilled refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air as it moves through the evaporator coil. If the network is undercharged or leaking and the refrigerant level is low, it loses the ability to absorb the heat. This can allow the temperature to slide below freezing and ice to develop on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and dirt may accumulate on a neglected evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and preventing the refrigerant inside it from absorbing heat. When this occurs, the coil may freeze.
- Broken thermostat: Poor temperature calibration might cause the air conditioner to run continually, even when the indoor temperature is already at the desired degree. Constant operation can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes up.
- Blower issues: The blower moves air through the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working effectively or performing at a low speed, the low level of airflow can freeze the evaporator coil.
3. The AC Makes a Gurgling or Bubbling Sound
Refrigerant is a vital part of the cooling process. If a leak has formed or air comes to be stuck in the refrigerant line, you might hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Similarly, your system could very well gurgle due to overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC service work to a professional who can make sure the proper refrigerant charge.
4. The AC Makes a Hissing Noise
A hissing noise from your air conditioner could be the result of one of these problems:
- Refrigerant leaks: Depending on the location and extent of a refrigerant leak, it may generate more of a hissing noise than a gurgling or bubbling sound.
- Problem with the compressor: The compressor located in the outdoor condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it passes through the AC model. This element may make a hissing noise if it gets damaged.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that manages refrigerant movement 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 identify and address the cause to stop further damage. [companyname] can diagnose and service any issue causing your AC to sound like running water, whether that’s condensation buildup, a refrigerant leak, a plugged drain line or a frozen evaporator coil. Every AC repair comes with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or request a repair estimate, please contact [companyname].