Why Does My Air Conditioner Sound Like Running Water?
Air conditioners are complex systems that rely on several components, including a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are usually robust 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 distressing noises can be linked to several causes.
1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise
This is an often reported air conditioner sound you may hear on hot, humid days and is no cause for alarm. Simple condensation buildup is probably to blame. As your air conditioner functions, moisture from the interior air collects on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan beneath it. This pan is designed 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 compromised, water can accumulate in the pan, resulting in a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool down below. If the dripping noise becomes a nuisance, 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 clogged and must be cleared. A float switch ought 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 have to fix the problem before your unit will run 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 consume water. What this means is your AC should never 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 happen for a few reasons, including:
- Dirty air filter: A filter plugged with dust, dirt and other particles restricts airflow. This may cause the temperature inside the evaporator coil to drop below freezing, which then freezes the condensate gathered 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 leaky and the refrigerant level is low, it loses the ability to absorb the heat. This can make the temperature to slide below freezing and ice to build up on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and dirt may coat an ignored evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and blocking the refrigerant within it from absorbing heat. When this takes place, the coil may freeze.
- Malfunctioning thermostat: Poor temperature calibration may cause the air conditioner to run continually, even when the indoor temperature is already at the correct number. Constant running of an AC unit can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes completely.
- Blower troubles: The blower circulates air through the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working effectively or running 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 vital component of the cooling process. If a leak forms or air comes to be caught in the refrigerant line, you might hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Additionally, your system could very well gurgle as a result of overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC repairs to a professional who can ensure the correct 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.
- Issues with the compressor: The compressor located in the outdoor condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it moves through the system. This component may make a hissing noise if it is faulty.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that regulates refrigerant movement 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 diagnose and address the cause to stop additional damage. [companyname] can detect and service any issue 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].