Homeowners worried about their cooling systems may ask, “Why does my AC sound like running water?”

After all, our air conditioners serve plenty of purposes, making them one of the essential HVAC components that homes or businesses can have. Besides keeping us cool during hot, humid weather, they enhance indoor air quality. 

An air conditioner suddenly producing odd watery sounds can quickly become a cause for concern. These sounds can range from bubbling noises to dripping and more. Each may indicate a different issue, some more serious than others. 

While typical, homeowners should pay close attention to them as they can indicate worse problems. When necessary, you may even need to schedule air conditioner repair services in El Cajon.

why does my ac sound like running water

What Does It Mean if You’re AC Is Making a Dripping Sound? 

Hearing a dripping noise from your AC unit is normal, especially on a hot or humid day. 

Knowing why the dripping sound is happening starts with understanding how your AC unit functions. Your AC unit works by bringing in moist and warm air, cooling it, and spreading it throughout the room. 

Your unit’s condensing coils cool down your air, and any moisture condenses, becoming condensate. This condensate gathers in a pan while your AC blows out dry and cool air, lowering temperatures. 

Naturally, the hotter or more humid the day is, the more condensate collects. This process leads to a dripping sound, which is usually harmless. 

If the noise persists to the point of becoming annoying, you may locate the condensate pan, empty it, and see whether that takes care of the issue. On the other hand, if the noise persists, you may have a bigger problem to deal with. For example, you could have a clogged condensate drain pipe. 

Check the drain pipe’s exterior for any blockages caused by debris or dirt. Algae growth can also trigger this issue, causing a condensate pan to overflow. Use a vacuum or similar tool to remove this excess buildup. 

Other Problems With Your Condensate Drain or Pipe 

Your condensate system is susceptible to various issues, including a clogged condensate pipe or cracked pan. Manufacturers typically build condensate drains with plastic, which can naturally crack with age. Heat from a furnace can also lead to cracking. 

You’ll need to call a professional team for a cracked pan or drain. 

What Does It Mean if Your AC Sounds Like Running Water? 

The first thing to know when asking, “Why does my AC sound like running water?” is that manufacturers build every unit differently. For example, self-evaporating air conditioners will evaporate any condensate once it gathers in your condensate pan. 

Other units, however, drain condensate through a condensate pipe. Regardless of the unit you have, your condensate pan should never overflow. 

If your AC unit sounds like water is constantly running, you likely have a full condensate drain pan that’s overflowing. There are two reasons why this might be occurring: 

Like the dripping water issue, start by checking whether anything is blocking your condensate drain pipe. You can also use a vacuum to remove any dirt or debris buildup. 

You should call our team to inspect your system if this strategy fails to resolve the issue. In addition, you should never keep your AC unit on if it’s frequently making running water sounds. Doing so could risk further damage to your AC unit. 

What if My AC Unit Is Making a Bubbling or Gurgling Noise? 

Besides asking, “Why does my AC sound like running water?” you may be wondering, “Why does my AC make bubbling or gurgling noises?” Generally speaking, both sounds indicate a pressure problem. 

Leaking refrigerant levels can trigger your unit to have low pressure. Likewise, overcharging refrigerant levels can produce too much pressure. Either pressure change can create an imbalance. 

An imbalanced unit triggers outside air to enter areas it shouldn’t reach, leading to pesky bubbling or gurgling sounds. 

It’s better to leave this problem to our professional technicians. Our team can diagnose the problem and recommend the proper solutions. 

What Does It Mean if My AC Unit Is Making a Hissing Noise? 

An air conditioner producing a non-stop hissing sound can also cause concern. If your unit is making a hissing sound, you likely have one of three issues: 

Why Shouldn’t You Try DIY Repairs? 

Homeowners can try draining their condensate pans or removing drain pipe blockages. However, if your AC unit continues to make excess water sounds despite your best efforts, you should let our professionals take over. You should never attempt DIY repairs for the following reasons: 

For the Best AC Repair Services, Call Us Today 

Answering “Why does my AC sound like running water?” can be challenging for a homeowner but is a breeze for our team. Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning is here to assist with your air conditioning needs. 

El Cajon, CA, residents can call us today at 619-403-2823 to discover our affordable services, like AC coil cleaning

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