Why Does My Air Conditioner Sound Like Running Water?

Air conditioners are complex systems that rely on several parts, which includes 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 unusual 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 worrying noises can be attributed to several sources.

1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise

This is a frequent air conditioner sound you could hear on hot, humid days and is no cause for alarm. Simple condensation buildup is likely the cause of the sound. As your air conditioner functions, moisture from the interior air accumulates on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan beneath it. This pan is designed to collect and funnel the condensed water away from your home via a drain line.

However, if the drain becomes blocked or compromised, water can accumulate in the pan, leading to a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool underneath. If the dripping noise becomes a nuisance, locate the drain pan under the indoor portion of your air conditioner and empty it.

Also, take AC dripping sounds as a indication that the condensate drain line is clogged 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 be forced to fix the problem before your unit will operate normally again.

2. The AC Sounds Like Water Is Running

While air conditioners make condensate during the cooling process, they do not run on or use water. What this means is your AC shouldn’t sound like running water. If you hear this sound, it might 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 choked with dust, dirt and other debris restricts airflow. This may cause the temperature inside the evaporator coil to drop below freezing, which then freezes the condensate collected on the coil.
  • Low refrigerant level: Chilled refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air as it passes through the evaporator coil. If the system is undercharged or leaking and the refrigerant level is minimal, it loses the capacity to absorb the heat. This can make the temperature to slide below freezing and ice to develop on the coil.
  • Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and grime may coat a neglected evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and preventing the refrigerant inside it from absorbing heat. When this occurs, the coil may possibly freeze.
  • Broken thermostat: Poor temperature calibration might cause the air conditioner to run continually, even when the indoor temperature is already at the desired level. Constant running of an AC unit can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes over.
  • Blower troubles: The blower moves air through the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working effectively or operating at a low speed, the lack of airflow may 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 developed or air gets trapped 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 repair work to a professional who can verify the correct refrigerant charge.

4. The AC Makes a Hissing Noise

A hissing noise from your air conditioner could be the result of one of these problems:

  • Refrigerant leaks: Depending on the site and seriousness of a refrigerant leak, it may create more of a hissing noise than a gurgling or bubbling sound.
  • An issue with with the compressor: The compressor located in the exterior condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it flows through the AC model. This element may make a hissing noise if it is faulty.
  • Internal valve leak: The valve that regulates refrigerant movement within 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 identify and address the cause to stop further damage. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can identify 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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