Air conditioners are complex 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 unheard of 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 an often reported air conditioner sound you might hear on hot, humid days and is no reason for alarm. Simple condensation buildup is likely the cause of the sound. As your air conditioner operates, moisture from the inside air accumulates on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan underneath. This pan was created to catch and direct the condensed water a safe distance away from your home via a drain line. Although, if the drain becomes blocked or damaged, water can accumulate in the pan, producing a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool below. 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 signal that the condensate drain line is blocked and must 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 break. Plus, if your AC keeps turning itself off because of a full drain pan, you’ll be forced to correct the problem before your unit will function normally again.
2. The AC Sounds Like Water Is Running
While air conditioners make condensate as a part of the cooling process, they do not run on or utilize water. This means your AC shouldn't 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 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 fall below freezing, which then freezes the condensate accumulated on the coil.
- Low refrigerant level: Chilled refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air as it moves 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 drop below freezing and ice to form on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and dirt may coat an ignored evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and preventing the refrigerant inside of it from absorbing heat. When this takes place, the coil might freeze.
- Failing thermostat: Poor temperature calibration might cause the air conditioner to run continually, even when the indoor temperature is already at the correct level. Continuously running an air conditioner can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes over.
- Blower problems: The blower forces air through the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working right or performing at a low speed, the lack of airflow can freeze the evaporator coil.
3. The AC Makes a Gurgling or Bubbling Sound
Refrigerant is a crucial element of the cooling process. If a leak forms or air comes to be trapped in the refrigerant line, you can hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Additionally, your system could very well gurgle because of overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC service work 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 be the result of one of these problems:
- Refrigerant leaks: Depending on the location 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 outdoor condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it flows through the system. This component may make a hissing noise if it gets faulty.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that controls refrigerant flow through 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 prevent 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 schedule a repair estimate, please contact [companyname].