Why Does My Air Conditioner Sound Like Running Water?
Air conditioners are complicated systems that rely on many different parts, including a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are typically robust and reliable, it’s not uncommon for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is wrong. One such sound is dripping, gurgling, bubbling or running water. These worrisome noises can be linked to several causes.
1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise
This is an often reported air conditioner sound you could hear on hot, humid days and is no cause for alarm. Simple condensation buildup is most likely to blame. 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 designed to capture and funnel the condensed water clear of your home via a drain line. Although, if the drain becomes clogged or damaged, 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 an annoyance, find the drain pan under the indoor portion of your air conditioner and clear it.
Also, take AC dripping sounds as a signal that the condensate drain line is plugged and needs to 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 need to correct the drain pan issue before your unit will function normally again.
2. The AC Sounds Like Water Is Running
While air conditioners create condensate as a part of the cooling process, they do not run on or consume water. This means your AC should never sound like running water. If you hear this water noise, it may mean 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 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 goes through the evaporator coil. If the air conditioner is undercharged or leaking and the refrigerant level is low, it loses the capacity 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 grime 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 may possibly freeze.
- Malfunctioning thermostat: Poor temperature calibration may cause the air conditioner to run continually, even when the indoor temperature is already at the ideal number. 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 correctly or performing at a low speed, the lack of sufficient airflow may freeze the evaporator coil.
3. The AC Makes a Gurgling or Bubbling Sound
Refrigerant is a crucial component of the cooling process. If a leak has developed or air has become stuck in the refrigerant line, you can hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Along those same lines, your system may gurgle because of overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC repairs to a professional who can ensure the proper refrigerant charge.
4. The AC Makes a Hissing Noise
A hissing noise from your air conditioner could signify one of these malfunctions:
- Refrigerant leaks: Depending on the location and extent of a refrigerant leak, it may produce more of a hissing noise than a gurgling or bubbling sound.
- Issues with the compressor: The compressor located in the exterior condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it passes through the air conditioner. This part of the system may make a hissing noise if it gets defective.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that controls refrigerant movement 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 diagnose and address the cause to avoid additional damage. [companyname] can diagnose and service 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].