Air conditioners are complex systems that rely on numerous elements, including a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are generally robust and reliable, it’s not unusual for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is awry. One such sound is dripping, gurgling, bubbling or running water. These worrisome noises can be linked to several sources.
1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise
This is a frequent air conditioner sound you may 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 indoor air collects on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan underneath. This pan is designed to capture and move the condensed water clear of your home via a drain line. Then again, if the drain becomes plugged or damaged, water can accumulate in the pan, leading to a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool 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 signal that the condensate drain line is blocked and needs to be cleared. A float switch is supposed to automatically shut off your conditioner before the drain pan overflows and causes 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 solve the problem before your unit will operate 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 use water. This simply means your AC should not ever sound like running water. If you hear this water noise, it might indicate 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 choked with dust, dirt and other particles blocks airflow. This may make the temperature inside the evaporator coil to get 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 system is undercharged or leaky and the refrigerant level is not high enough, it loses the ability to absorb the heat. This can make the temperature to slide below freezing and ice to develop on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and dirt may accumulate on a neglected evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and preventing the refrigerant inside it from absorbing heat. When this takes place, the coil may possibly freeze.
- Failing thermostat: Poor temperature calibration may cause the air conditioner to run constantly, even when the indoor temperature is already at the ideal level. Constant running of an AC unit can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes completely.
- Blower troubles: The blower forces air across the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working effectively or running at a low speed, the low level of airflow can freeze the evaporator coil.
3. The AC Makes a Gurgling or Bubbling Sound
Refrigerant is a critical component of the cooling process. If a leak has developed or air comes to be stuck in the refrigerant line, you might hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Along those same lines, your system could very well gurgle because of overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC repair work to a professional who can verify the right refrigerant charge.
4. The AC Makes a Hissing Noise
A hissing noise from your air conditioner could indicate one of these problems:
- Refrigerant leaks: Depending on the place and seriousness of a refrigerant leak, it may create 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 system. This part of the system may make a hissing noise if it is damaged.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that controls refrigerant circulation through 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 stop more damage. [companyname] can detect and service any concern 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. Every single AC repair comes with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or schedule a repair estimate, please contact [companyname].