Air conditioners are sophisticated electromechanical systems that rely on multiple components, including a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil, and refrigerant, to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity levels. While these machines are usually sturdy and reliable, it’s not unheard of for AC units to make odd sounds, indicating something is amiss. The unit can produce effects like gurgling, bubbling, dripping, or running water. These disturbing noises can be traced to several causes.
Your AC is making a gurgling or bubbling sound
Refrigerant is an essential part of your central air conditioning system’s cooling process. If there’s a leak or air is trapped in the refrigerant line, you may hear gurgling or bubbling noises as the refrigerant flows. Similarly, your system can gurgle due to overcharged refrigerant.
Neighborly tip: Always leave air conditioner service to our professional, certified technicians. We’ll ensure that your system has the proper refrigerant charge and is free of leaks and trapped air.
Your AC sounds like dripping water
This is a common air conditioner sound you’ll notice on hot, humid days and is no cause for alarm. Accumulation of condensation is usually the cause of the sound. As your air conditioner runs, moisture from the inside air gathers on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan underneath. This pan captures and directs the condensed water away from your home via a drain line.
If the drain becomes plugged, water can fill 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 inside part of your air conditioner and clear it of any obstructions.
Also, you can consider those dripping sounds as a warning sign that the drain line is plugged and needs to be cleared. Your system’s float switch will automatically shut off your unit before the drain pan overflows and produces water damage, but if this switch fails, you may end up with a big mess, or worse – a damaged HVAC system.
Your AC is making sounds like running water
While air conditioners produce condensation as a by-product of the cooling process, they don’t run on or use water. What this means is your AC should never sound like running water. If you hear this noise, it’s likely the evaporator coil has frozen over and is now thawing and dripping water onto the ground.
Your coil can freeze for a variety of reasons, including:
A low refrigerant level. The cooled refrigerant in your system absorbs heat from your home’s indoor air as it passes through the evaporator coil. If your system is undercharged or has a leak and the refrigerant level is low, it loses the capacity to absorb heat. This causes the coil’s temperature to dip below freezing and ice to form on the coil.
A dirty air filter. Airflow is restricted if your system’s filter is clogged with dirt, dust, and other debris. This can cause the temperature inside the evaporator coil to drop below freezing, which then freezes the accumulated condensation on the coil.
A filthy evaporator coil. Grease, dirt, and dust can build up on a neglected evaporator coil, insulating it and preventing the refrigerant inside from absorbing heat. When this occurs, the coil can freeze over.
A malfunctioning thermostat. An uncalibrated or failing thermostat can cause your air conditioner to run constantly, even when the inside temperature is already at the set value. This constant operation will make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes completely.
Blower issues. Your system’s blower forces air across the evaporator coil, but if the motor isn’t working correctly or running at a low speed, the lack of airflow could freeze the evaporator coil.
Your AC is hissing
A hissing noise from your air conditioner is disturbing indeed. It could be produced by one of these problems:
A compressor issue. Your system’s compressor is located in the outside condenser unit, pressurizing the refrigerant as it flows through and making a hissing noise if it’s faulty.
A refrigerant or valve leak. Depending on the location and severity of a refrigerant leak, it can produce more of a hissing noise than a bubbling or gurgling sound.
Don’t worry! We can fix that!™
If you’re hearing running water and you’ve double-checked all of your faucets, the dishwasher, and the washing machine, too – the sound is probably coming from your air conditioner. We recommend that you identify and address the cause to prevent damage. The pros here at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling can detect and repair any malfunction that’s causing your AC to sound like running water, whether it’s a plugged drain line, condensation buildup, a refrigerant leak, or a frozen evaporator coil. Each and every AC repair comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or request a repair estimate, please call us today or conveniently schedule an appointment online.