Air conditioners are sophisticated systems that rely on numerous components, such as 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 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 traced back to several sources.
1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise
This is a frequent air conditioner sound you may hear on hot, humid days and is no reason you should be alarmed. Simple condensation buildup is likely to blame. As your air conditioner functions, moisture from the inside air gathers on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan beneath. This pan is meant to collect and funnel the condensed water a safe distance away from your home via a drain line. Then again, if the drain becomes plugged or broken, 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 too irritating, find the drain pan under the indoor portion of your air conditioner and empty it.
Also, take AC dripping sounds as a warning sign that the condensate drain line is clogged and should be cleared. A float switch ought to automatically shut off your conditioner before the drain pan overflows and creates 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 need to solve the issue before your unit will function 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 consume water. This means your AC should not ever sound like running water. If you hear this noise, it could indicate 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 make the temperature inside the evaporator coil to fall below freezing, which then freezes the condensate accumulated on the coil.
- Low refrigerant level: Chilled refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air as it passes through the evaporator coil. If the network is undercharged or leaking and the refrigerant level is not high enough, it loses the capacity to absorb the heat. This can cause the temperature to fall below freezing and ice to build up on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and grease may coat a neglected evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and preventing the refrigerant inside it from absorbing heat. When this occurs, the coil could freeze.
- Broken thermostat: Poor temperature calibration may cause the air conditioner to run continually, even when the indoor temperature is already at the ideal level. Constant operation can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes up.
- Blower issues: The blower moves air over the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working effectively or performing at a low speed, the lack of sufficient airflow could freeze the evaporator coil.
3. The AC Makes a Gurgling or Bubbling Sound
Refrigerant is a critical element of the cooling process. If a leak forms or air has become stuck in the refrigerant line, you can hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Similarly, your system may gurgle because of overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC repairs 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 problems:
- Refrigerant leaks: Depending on the location and extent of a refrigerant leak, it may produce 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 component may make a hissing noise if it gets damaged.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that manages refrigerant circulation through 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 determine and address the cause to avoid additional damage. [companyname] can diagnose and fix 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 set up a repair estimate, please contact [companyname].