Why Does My Air Conditioner Sound Like Running Water?

Air conditioners are sophisticated systems that rely on numerous parts, such as a compressor, evaporator coil, condenser coil and refrigerant to regulate your home’s temperature and humidity level. While these machines are usually strong and reliable, it’s not unheard of for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is awry. 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 common air conditioner sound you might hear on hot, humid days and is no cause for alarm. Simple condensation buildup is likely to blame. As your air conditioner operates, moisture from the inside air gathers on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan beneath it. This pan is designed to capture and funnel the condensed water a safe distance away from your home via a drain line.

However, if the drain becomes clogged 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 a nuisance, find 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 blocked and must be cleared. A float switch is supposed to automatically shut off your conditioner before the drain pan overflows and produces water damage, but the float switch could always not work properly. Plus, if your AC keeps turning itself off because of a full drain pan, you’ll be forced to fix the drain pan issue before your unit will run normally again.

2. The AC Sounds Like Water Is Running

While air conditioners create condensate during the cooling process, they do not run on or consume water. This simply means your AC should not ever 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 clogged with dust, dirt and other crud blocks airflow. This may make the temperature inside the evaporator coil to drop below freezing, which then freezes the condensate accumulated on the coil.
  • Low refrigerant level: Chilled refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air as it moves through the evaporator coil. If the network is undercharged or leaky and the refrigerant level is low, it loses the capability to absorb the heat. This can cause the temperature to fall below freezing and ice to build up on the coil.
  • Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and grime may accumulate on a neglected evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and stopping the refrigerant inside from absorbing heat. When this happens, the coil may possibly freeze.
  • Malfunctioning thermostat: Poor temperature calibration could cause the air conditioner to run constantly, even when the indoor temperature is already at the desired degree. Continuously running an air conditioner can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes over.
  • Blower issues: The blower circulates air across the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working right or running at a low speed, the lack of sufficient airflow can 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 comes to be caught in the refrigerant line, you can hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Similarly, your system could very well gurgle due to overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC repairs 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 outside condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it passes through the system. This element may make a hissing noise if it is faulty.
  • Internal valve leak: The valve that manages refrigerant circulation 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 prevent further damage. Winnipeg Supply Service Experts can identify and repair any malfunction 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 Winnipeg Supply Service Experts.

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