Air conditioners are complicated systems that rely on various 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 strong and reliable, it’s not unheard of for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is awry. One of these sounds is dripping, gurgling, bubbling or running water. These worrisome noises can be attributed 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 reason you should be alarmed. Simple condensation buildup is most likely the cause of the sound. As your air conditioner functions, moisture from the interior air gathers on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan underneath. This pan was created to collect and funnel the condensed water clear of your home via a drain line. Then again, if the drain becomes blocked or damaged, water can accumulate in the pan, resulting in a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool down below. 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 warning sign that the condensate drain line is plugged and must be cleared. A float switch ought to 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 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 part of the cooling process, they do not run on or consume water. This simply means your AC should not ever sound like running water. If you hear this noise, it could 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 clogged with dust, dirt and other debris blocks airflow. This may cause the temperature inside the evaporator coil to drop below freezing, which then freezes the condensate collected 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 leaking and the refrigerant level is not high enough, it loses the ability to absorb the heat. This can cause the temperature to slide below freezing and ice to form on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and grime may build up on a forgotten evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and stopping the refrigerant inside of it from absorbing heat. When this occurs, the coil could freeze.
- Failing thermostat: Poor temperature calibration may cause the air conditioner to run constantly, even when the indoor temperature is already at the correct level. Constant operation can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes up.
- Blower issues: The blower circulates air through the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working right or operating at a low speed, the low level of airflow could 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 has become stuck in the refrigerant line, you can hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Similarly, your system could very well 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 element may make a hissing noise if it gets damaged.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that controls refrigerant movement within 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 stop further damage. [companyname] can identify and service any issue 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].