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 sturdy and reliable, it’s not uncommon 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 worrisome noises can be traced back to several origins.
1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise
This is a common air conditioner sound you might hear on hot, humid days and is no reason you should be alarmed. Simple condensation buildup is likely the cause of the sound. As your air conditioner performs, moisture from the inside air collects on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan beneath. This pan is designed to collect and funnel the condensed water away from your home via a drain line. However, 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 below. If the dripping noise becomes a nuisance, 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 blocked and should be cleared. A float switch should 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 need to solve the problem before your unit will run normally again.
2. The AC Sounds Like Water Is Running
While air conditioners create condensate as a component of the cooling process, they do not run on or utilize water. What this means is your AC shouldn't 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 choked with dust, dirt and other crud blocks airflow. This may make 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 goes 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 slide below freezing and ice to build up on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and grease may build up on a forgotten evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and stopping the refrigerant inside it from absorbing heat. When this occurs, the coil might freeze.
- Failing thermostat: Poor temperature calibration might cause the air conditioner to run constantly, even when the indoor temperature is already at the correct degree. Continuously running an air conditioner can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes completely.
- Blower problems: The blower circulates air through the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working right 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 ingredient in the cooling process. If a leak forms or air has become stuck in the refrigerant line, you might hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Similarly, your system could very well gurgle as a result of overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC repair work to a professional who can make sure the proper refrigerant charge.
4. The AC Makes a Hissing Noise
A hissing noise from your air conditioner could signify one of these issues:
- Refrigerant leaks: Depending on the site and extent of a refrigerant leak, it may generate 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 moves through the system. This component may make a hissing noise if it is 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 such as running water from your air conditioner, take steps to determine and address the cause to stop further damage. [companyname] can identify and repair any concern 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].