Air conditioners are complex systems that rely on several parts, including a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are typically strong and reliable, it’s not unheard of for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is awry. One of these sounds is dripping, gurgling, bubbling or running water. These worrying noises can be attributed to several origins.
1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise
This is an often reported air conditioner sound you might hear on hot, humid days and is no cause for alarm. Simple condensation buildup is most likely the cause of the sound. As your air conditioner operates, moisture from the interior air accumulates on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan beneath. This pan was created to collect and funnel the condensed water away from your home via a drain line. Although, if the drain becomes plugged or compromised, water can accumulate in the pan, producing a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool below. If the dripping noise becomes too irritating, locate the drain pan under the indoor portion of your air conditioner and empty it.
Also, take AC dripping sounds as a signal that the condensate drain line is blocked and should be cleared. A float switch ought to automatically shut off your conditioner before the drain pan overflows and produces water damage, but the float switch could always fail. Plus, if your AC keeps turning itself off because of a full drain pan, you’ll have to solve the 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 use water. What this means is your AC should not ever sound like running water. If you hear this sound, it could indicate 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 crud blocks airflow. This may make the temperature inside the evaporator coil to fall below freezing, which then freezes the condensate gathered on the coil.
- Low refrigerant level: Chilled refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air as it passes through the evaporator coil. If the network is undercharged or leaky and the refrigerant level is not high enough, it loses the ability to absorb the heat. This can allow the temperature to slide below freezing and ice to develop on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and grease may coat an ignored evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and stopping the refrigerant within it from absorbing heat. When this occurs, the coil could freeze.
- Failing thermostat: Poor temperature calibration might cause the air conditioner to run continually, 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 up.
- Blower problems: The blower moves air over the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working correctly 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 critical part of the cooling process. If a leak has developed or air has become caught in the refrigerant line, you may hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Additionally, your system could possibly gurgle because of overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC repairs 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 extent of a refrigerant leak, it may produce more of a hissing noise than a gurgling or bubbling sound.
- An issue with with the compressor: The compressor located in the outside condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it passes through the air conditioner. This component may make a hissing noise if it is defective.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that manages refrigerant movement within the compressor may also leak and hiss.
Schedule Air Conditioning Services
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