Air conditioners are complicated systems that rely on various elements, such as a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are usually sturdy and reliable, it’s not uncommon for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is awry. One example of a sound is dripping, gurgling, bubbling or running water. These worrying noises can be traced back 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 culprit. As your air conditioner functions, moisture from the interior air gathers on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan underneath. This pan is meant to capture and funnel the condensed water away from your home via a drain line. However, if the drain becomes blocked or compromised, 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 an annoyance, identify 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 blocked and should be cleared. A float switch is supposed to automatically shut off your conditioner before the drain pan overflows and produces 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 be forced to fix the problem 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 consume water. This simply means your AC should not ever sound like running water. If you hear this sound, it may 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 limits airflow. This may cause 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 passes through the evaporator coil. If the system is undercharged or leaky 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 form on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and grease may accumulate on a forgotten evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and stopping the refrigerant inside from absorbing heat. When this occurs, the coil may freeze.
- Failing thermostat: Poor temperature calibration might cause the air conditioner to run continuously, even when the indoor temperature is already at the ideal level. Continuously running an air conditioner can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes up.
- Blower problems: The blower moves air through the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working correctly or running at a low speed, the lack of sufficient airflow can 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 has formed or air has become caught in the refrigerant line, you can 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 verify the proper 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 site and severity of a refrigerant leak, it may generate more of a hissing noise than a gurgling or bubbling sound.
- An issue with with the compressor: The compressor located in the exterior condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it moves through the air conditioner. This component may make a hissing noise if it gets defective.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that regulates 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 further damage. [companyname] can identify and fix any malfunction 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. Each and every AC repair comes with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or schedule a repair estimate, please contact [companyname].