Air conditioners are complicated systems that rely on many different elements, 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 uncommon for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is amiss. One example of a sound is dripping, gurgling, bubbling or running water. These worrying noises can be attributed to several causes.
1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise
This is a common air conditioner sound you could hear on hot, humid days and is no reason for alarm. Simple condensation buildup is likely the cause of the sound. As your air conditioner operates, moisture from the indoor air collects on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan underneath. This pan is designed to capture and move the condensed water away from your home via a drain line. Although, if the drain becomes clogged or compromised, water can accumulate in the pan, producing a dripping or splashing noise as freshly collected condensate drips into the pool underneath. If the dripping noise becomes too irritating, find 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 clogged and should 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 fail. Plus, if your AC keeps turning itself off because of a full drain pan, you’ll need to solve the issue 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. This simply means your AC should not ever sound like running water. If you hear this noise, it might mean 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 plugged with dust, dirt and other debris restricts airflow. This may lead the temperature inside the evaporator coil to fall below freezing, which then freezes the condensate accumulated on the coil.
- Low refrigerant level: Chilled refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air as it goes through the evaporator coil. If the network is undercharged or leaky and the refrigerant level is not high enough, it loses the capacity to absorb the heat. This can allow the temperature to slide below freezing and ice to build up on the coil.
- Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and dirt may build up on an ignored evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and preventing the refrigerant inside of it from absorbing heat. When this occurs, the coil may 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 operation can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes completely.
- Blower problems: The blower circulates air over the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working right or running at a low speed, the low level 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 forms or air has become stuck in the refrigerant line, you can hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Along those same lines, your system may gurgle as a result of overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC service work 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 malfunctions:
- 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.
- Issues with the compressor: The compressor located in the outside condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it moves through the air conditioner. This component may make a hissing noise if it becomes defective.
- Internal valve leak: The valve that regulates refrigerant flow throughout the compressor may also leak and hiss.
Schedule Air Conditioning Services
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