Air conditioners are complex systems that rely on many different components, including a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are typically strong and reliable, it’s not uncommon for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is amiss. One example of a sound is dripping, gurgling, bubbling or running water. These worrying noises can be linked to several causes.
1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise
This is an often reported air conditioner sound you might 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 functions, moisture from the inside air collects on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan underneath. This pan is designed to collect and move the condensed water clear of your home via a drain line. Although, if the drain becomes clogged or damaged, water can accumulate in the pan, resulting in a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool underneath. If the dripping noise becomes a nuisance, locate the drain pan under the indoor portion of your air conditioner and remove the water.
Also, take AC dripping sounds as a indication that the condensate drain line is plugged and must be cleared. A float switch is supposed to automatically shut off your conditioner before the drain pan overflows and creates water damage, but the float switch could always fail. 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 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 never sound like running water. If you hear this sound, it might indicate the evaporator coil has frozen over and is now thawing and dripping water onto the ground.
This can happen for a few reasons, including:
- Dirty air filter: A filter clogged with dust, dirt and other debris restricts airflow. This may cause the temperature inside the evaporator coil to fall below freezing, which then freezes the condensate collected on the coil.
- Low refrigerant level: Chilled refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air as it passes through the evaporator coil. If the air conditioner is undercharged or seeping out and the refrigerant level is low, 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 accumulate on a forgotten evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and blocking the refrigerant inside of it from absorbing heat. When this takes place, the coil may freeze.
- Malfunctioning thermostat: Poor temperature calibration might cause the air conditioner to run continuously, even when the indoor temperature is already at the desired number. Constant operation can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes completely.
- Blower troubles: The blower moves air through the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working correctly or operating 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 crucial component of the cooling process. If a leak has formed or air comes to be caught in the refrigerant line, you may hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Along those same lines, your system may gurgle as a result of overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC repairs to a professional who can ensure the proper refrigerant charge.
4. The AC Makes a Hissing Noise
A hissing noise from your air conditioner could signify one of these malfunctions:
- 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.
- Issues with the compressor: The compressor located in the outside condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it passes through the air conditioner. This component may make a hissing noise if it becomes damaged.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that controls refrigerant movement 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 identify and address the cause to avoid further damage. [companyname] can diagnose and service any malfunction causing your AC to sound like running water, whether that’s condensation buildup, a refrigerant leak, a clogged drain line or a frozen evaporator coil. Each and every AC repair comes with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or request a repair estimate, please contact [companyname].