Why Does My Air Conditioner Sound Like Running Water?

Air conditioners are complicated systems that rely on several components, which includes a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are typically sturdy and reliable, it’s not unheard of for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is amiss. One such 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 a common air conditioner sound you may hear on hot, humid days and is no reason you should be alarmed. Simple condensation buildup is probably the culprit. As your air conditioner functions, moisture from the inside air accumulates on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan underneath. This pan was created to catch and funnel the condensed water a safe distance away from your home via a drain line. However, if the drain becomes blocked or damaged, water can accumulate in the pan, leading to a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool down below. If the dripping noise becomes too irritating, identify the drain pan under the indoor portion of your air conditioner and remove the water.

Also, take AC dripping sounds as a indication that the condensate drain line is plugged and needs to be cleared. A float switch is supposed to automatically shut off your conditioner before the drain pan overflows and creates 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 problem before your unit will function normally again.

2. The AC Sounds Like Water Is Running

While air conditioners produce condensate as a component of the cooling process, they do not run on or utilize water. What this means is your AC shouldn't sound like running water. If you hear this sound, 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 make the temperature inside the evaporator coil to get 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 leaking and the refrigerant level is not high enough, it loses the capacity to absorb the heat. This can make the temperature to drop below freezing and ice to form on the coil.
  • Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and grime may accumulate on an ignored evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and stopping the refrigerant inside from absorbing heat. When this takes place, the coil may freeze.
  • Broken thermostat: Poor temperature calibration may cause the air conditioner to run continuously, even when the indoor temperature is already at the correct number. Continuously running an air conditioner can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes over.
  • Blower troubles: The blower moves air over the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working effectively or performing at a low speed, the low level of airflow could freeze the evaporator coil.

3. The AC Makes a Gurgling or Bubbling Sound

Refrigerant is a vital ingredient in the cooling process. If a leak has formed or air gets stuck in the refrigerant line, you may hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Similarly, your system could possibly gurgle due to overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC repairs to a professional who can make sure the right 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 location and extent 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 outside condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it moves through the AC model. This part of the system may make a hissing noise if it becomes defective.
  • Internal valve leak: The valve that regulates refrigerant circulation within 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 determine and address the cause to stop further damage. [companyname] can identify and repair any issue 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. Every AC repair comes with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or request a repair estimate, please contact [companyname].

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