Air conditioners are complicated systems that rely on many different parts, including a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are generally robust 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 worrying noises can be traced back to several causes.
1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise
This is a frequent air conditioner sound you could hear on hot, humid days and is no cause for alarm. Simple condensation buildup is likely the cause of the sound. As your air conditioner operates, moisture from the interior air collects on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan beneath it. This pan is designed to catch and direct the condensed water a safe distance away from your home via a drain line. Although, if the drain becomes plugged or compromised, water can accumulate in the pan, leading to a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool underneath. If the dripping noise becomes an annoyance, find the drain pan under the indoor portion of your air conditioner and remove the water.
Also, take AC dripping sounds as a signal that the condensate drain line is blocked and should be cleared. A float switch ought to automatically shut off your conditioner before the drain pan overflows and causes 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 problem before your unit will operate normally again.
2. The AC Sounds Like Water Is Running
While air conditioners produce condensate as a component of the cooling process, they do not run on or use water. This simply means your AC should never sound like running water. If you hear this water noise, it may 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 particles blocks airflow. This may cause the temperature inside the evaporator coil to get below freezing, which then freezes the condensate accumulated on the coil.
- Low refrigerant level: Chilled refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air as it goes through the evaporator coil. If the air conditioner is undercharged or seeping out and the refrigerant level is minimal, it loses the ability to absorb the heat. This can allow the temperature to drop below freezing and ice to develop on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and dirt may coat a forgotten evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and blocking the refrigerant within it from absorbing heat. When this happens, the coil may freeze.
- Malfunctioning thermostat: Poor temperature calibration could cause the air conditioner to run continually, even when the indoor temperature is already at the correct level. Constant operation can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes completely.
- Blower issues: The blower forces air across the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working right or operating 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 has formed or air comes to be trapped in the refrigerant line, you might hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Additionally, your system could very well gurgle due to overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC repair work to a professional who can verify the right refrigerant charge.
4. The AC Makes a Hissing Noise
A hissing noise from your air conditioner could indicate one of these malfunctions:
- Refrigerant leaks: Depending on the site and seriousness of a refrigerant leak, it may produce more of a hissing noise than a gurgling or bubbling sound.
- An issue with with the compressor: The compressor located in the outside condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it passes through the system. This component may make a hissing noise if it becomes damaged.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that regulates refrigerant flow throughout the compressor may also leak and hiss.
Schedule Air Conditioning Services
If you hear a sound similar to running water from your air conditioner, take steps to diagnose and address the cause to prevent further damage. [companyname] can identify and service any malfunction causing your AC to sound like running water, whether that’s condensation buildup, a refrigerant leak, a stopped up 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].