Why Does My Air Conditioner Sound Like Running Water?

Air conditioners are sophisticated systems that rely on many different components, 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 uncommon for AC units to make strange sounds, which may indicate that something is wrong. One such sound is dripping, gurgling, bubbling or running water. These distressing noises can be attributed to several sources.

1. The AC Makes a Dripping Noise

This is an often reported air conditioner sound you may hear on hot, humid days and is no reason for alarm. Simple condensation buildup is probably to blame. As your air conditioner performs, moisture from the indoor air accumulates on the evaporator coil and drips into the drain pan beneath. This pan was created to collect and direct the condensed water a safe distance away from your home via a drain line.

Then again, 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 an annoyance, identify the drain pan under the indoor portion of your air conditioner and remove the water.

Also, take AC dripping sounds as a signal that the condensate drain line is clogged and needs to 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 solve the problem 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 consume water. What this means is your AC should not ever sound like running water. If you hear this water noise, it could 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 crud limits airflow. This may make the temperature inside the evaporator coil to fall below freezing, which then freezes the condensate collected on the coil.
  • Low refrigerant level: Chilled refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air as it goes through the evaporator coil. If the air conditioner is undercharged or leaking and the refrigerant level is low, it loses the ability to absorb the heat. This can make the temperature to slide below freezing and ice to build up on the coil.
  • Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and grease may build up on an ignored evaporator coil, effectively insulating it and preventing the refrigerant within it from absorbing heat. When this occurs, the coil could freeze.
  • Broken thermostat: Poor temperature calibration could cause the air conditioner to run constantly, even when the indoor temperature is already at the ideal degree. Constant running of an AC unit can make the evaporator coil so cold that it freezes completely.
  • Blower issues: The blower circulates air over the evaporator coil. If it isn’t working effectively or performing at a low speed, the lack of sufficient 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 gets trapped in the refrigerant line, you can hear gurgling or bubbling as the refrigerant flows. Similarly, your system could possibly gurgle as a result of overcharged refrigerant. Always leave AC service 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 indicate one of these problems:

  • Refrigerant leaks: Depending on the location and seriousness of a refrigerant leak, it may generate more of a hissing noise than a gurgling or bubbling sound.
  • Issues with the compressor: The compressor located in the outdoor condensing unit pressurizes the refrigerant as it flows through the AC model. This component may make a hissing noise if it becomes defective.
  • Internal valve leak: The valve that controls refrigerant flow through the compressor may also leak and hiss.

Schedule Air Conditioning Services

If you hear a sound such as running water from your air conditioner, take steps to identify and address the cause to avoid more damage. Stevenson Service Experts can diagnose and repair any concern 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 single AC repair comes with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or request a repair estimate, please contact Stevenson Service Experts.

Savings For You

See All Offers Here >
Offer

$50 OFF ANY REPAIR

  • Save $50 on a Paid Service
  • Written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Plus, ask how to save an additional 15% and waive your trip charge!
print
Offer

MAKE NO PAYMENTS FOR 30 DAYS!

  • Upgrade to Worry-Free Comfort with the Advantage Program and make NO payments for 30 days!
print

© 2024 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.