Air conditioners are complex systems that rely on many different components, which includes a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are generally sturdy 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 worrisome noises can be traced back 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 you should be alarmed. Simple condensation buildup is most likely to blame. As your air conditioner performs, moisture from the inside air gathers on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan underneath. This pan is designed to collect and funnel the condensed water a safe distance away from your home via a drain line. Although, if the drain becomes plugged or broken, water can accumulate in the pan, producing a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool underneath. 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 clogged and should be cleared. A float switch should automatically shut off your conditioner before the drain pan overflows and produces water damage, but the float switch could always not work properly. Plus, if your AC keeps turning itself off because of a full drain pan, you’ll have to solve the drain pan issue before your unit will operate normally again.
2. The AC Sounds Like Water Is Running
While air conditioners create condensate during the cooling process, they do not run on or use water. This means your AC should not ever sound like running water. If you hear this noise, it might 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 plugged with dust, dirt and other particles restricts airflow. This may make 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 system is undercharged or leaky and the refrigerant level is minimal, it loses the capability 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 grime may build up on an ignored evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and stopping the refrigerant inside of it from absorbing heat. When this happens, the coil might freeze.
- Broken thermostat: Poor temperature calibration could cause the air conditioner to run constantly, even when the indoor temperature is already at the correct number. Continuously running an air conditioner can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes up.
- Blower problems: The blower moves air across 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 component of the cooling process. If a leak forms or air has become caught 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 service work to a professional who can make sure the correct 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 place 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 outside condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it flows through the AC model. This component may make a hissing noise if it gets defective.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that manages refrigerant circulation throughout the compressor may also leak and hiss.
Schedule Air Conditioning Services
If you hear a sound like running water from your air conditioner, take steps to identify and address the cause to avoid more damage. [companyname] can diagnose and fix 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 single AC repair comes with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or set up a repair estimate, please contact [companyname].