Air conditioners may produce dripping or splashing noise. The type and level of the noise are important indicators.
It is normal to hear a dripping sound coming from your air conditioning system. However, sometimes there may be a problem. So, you need to ask yourself this question; why is my air conditioner making noise?
Various factors can cause an air conditioner to make noise. Therefore, understanding how to handle noise from your air conditioning unit is important. You will also enjoy the work of your air conditioner when it is working properly.
Should you Hear Water in your Air Conditioner?
You should hear water dripping in your air conditioning system. Your AC unit has evaporator coils and a refrigerant. The air conditioner cools warm air in your house by passing it over the evaporator coils.
As the warm air loses its excess humidity, it becomes cool. The excess humidity changes into the water because of the heat exchange process. The excess water then condenses to the drip pan. The water then moves to the condensate drain.
You should hear dripping sounds from your air conditioner. But, if the sound is either too loud or is splashing noise, there must be a problem with your HVAC system.
Dripping vs. Gurgling vs. Bubbling Noise
An air conditioner making a dripping noise is not a problem. It indicates that the system works perfectly by removing excess moisture from the air. The moisture then moves to the drip pan.
Finally, it leaves the pan to the outside of the unit via the condensate drain. If your air conditioning system is dripping water normally, you will hear this sound.
When AC units start producing gurgling sounds, they are experiencing a pressure problem. Pressure imbalance occurs when the level of refrigerant is incorrect.
If you overcharge the liquid, your system will experience pressure units. Your AC units will also produce a gurgling sound if a refrigerant leak occurs.
Bubbling noise in air conditioning units shows a blocked or slow condensation drain. The blockage interferes with excess water movement from evaporator coils to the pan.
Why does my AC Sound Like Water?
If your AC system sounds like water, the drain pan is overflowing. Every air conditioner has a catch pan and a condensation drain. The condensation drain collects the water from the air to the outside. When there is a blockage, the excess water does not drain properly. This causes a dripping sound.
What Causes the Dripping Noise from an Air Conditioner?
1. Condensation Drain
A clogged condensation drain causes dripping sounds from your air conditioner. The drain line carries condensate from the evaporator coil to the outside of the AC unit. When solid waste accumulates, the drain line blocks and fails to drain water properly.
2. High Rate of Water Feed
Your air conditioning unit needs to have a steady water feed rate to function properly. Water feed rate is the amount of water that passes through the air conditioner if it functions. If the water feed rate is exceptionally high, your air conditioner will start dripping.
3. Low Refrigerant Levels
Refrigerant is important for the air conditioner to cool the warm air in your home. A refrigerant leak may occur because of mechanical damage. If this happens, the refrigerant level in the AC unit will be too low for the system to function properly.
4. Worn out Drain Pan
The drain pans of air conditioners get worn out with time. When they get old, they fall out of position. The AC unit then starts making a dripping noise. The noise comes from the water that is not draining properly.
5. Improperly Installed or Sized Unit
Improper installation of your air conditioning unit can cause serious drainage problems. You should properly install vapor-compression air conditioners since the wrong installation often results in a leak and noise problem.
6. Dirty Air Filter
Air filters of your HVAC system accumulate solid contaminants from the air. If you do not change them regularly, your unit will stop working and start producing a dripping sound.
How to Stop Dripping Noise from an Air Conditioner
1. Prevent Moisture and Pressure Problems
Moisture and pressure problems cause gurgling and bubbling noises in AC units. Unfortunately, there is no single method of dealing with them.
However, you can ensure the following to prevent them from occurring.
- Choose the right AC unit. You can do this by following the load calculation process. This will help you avoid having a very large or small AC in your home. Having an AC that does not match your home size creates pressure and humidity problems.
- Set the AC fan on the always-on mode. This will ensure that you do not have excess humidity indoors. Moreover, the fan will create a nice cooling effect even when the AC is not running.
2. Unclog Clogged Condensate Drain Line
Unclogging the condensate drain line deals with noise. It also prevents water damage issues from your HVAC.
Here is a simple guide for cleaning AC drain line with vinegar
- You need to turn off the entire system to avoid injury from the electric current.
- Locate the drain line. It is easily accessible in many units because it sits outside under the condenser units.
- Remove the cap covering the line and check inside for signs of solid debris.
- Remove as much debris as you can using a hard object. After that, pour inside a cup full of white vinegar. This will dissolve all the remaining solid waste.
- Replace the cap and test the pipe for drainage.
You can also use other methods including cleaning AC with bleach
3. Check Refrigerant Levels
Maintaining the right refrigerant levels will prevent humidity and pressure problems. To check your refrigerant levels, you must determine the actual type.
Once you know what refrigerant type is in your AC system, you should determine the pressure. You can use the pressure gauge to determine high and low pressure.
Next, you should determine the condensation and evaporation temperatures of your refrigerant. Ensure that the temperature range of your system is between 5K and 10K.
This means that your system has the correct amount of coolant. Again, you can let a certified HVAC technician regularly complete the procedure for you.
4. Replace or Clean Air Filters
Changing your filters is an easy process. Here is a simple step-by-step explanation of how you can go about the task.
- Switch off the power supply to your AC system for your safety.
- Remove the old air filter by sliding it out of the slot.
- Check if the air filter is full of contaminants. If the air filter is no longer useful, it will change its color.
- Insert the new or cleaned air filter into the slot. If you use a reusable air filter, ensure you clean it properly.
- Ensure that the air filter is properly installed before you close the compartment. Then, switch on your system again.
5. Replace Worn Out Drain Pan
Having a worn-out drain pan can cause water to drip endlessly. On some occasions, it may cause a dripping or splashing noise inside the AC system.
This is because the drain pan will not hold the excess humidity from the evaporator coils. As the water flows onto the pan, it leaks and causes a loud dripping noise. In some instances, the noise may be in the form of running water.
You can fix this by simply replacing your drain pan. Any good HVAC technician can help you locate and replace your drain pan. They will also ensure that the drain pan is properly installed. If the pan is not properly installed, you may still hear dripping noise after some time.
6. Schedule Preventative Maintenance
Your HVAC system needs regular repair work for it to work properly. The repair work may entail simple things like unclogging the drain line.
On other occasions, it may involve recharging the refrigerant or replacing a worn-out component. However, the bottom line is that you should plan and carry out necessary repairs to your system.
If you are not conversant with the unit’s components, you may get a service appointment from a certified HVAC technician. The technician will check the unit and carry out all the necessary repairs.
This will prevent water damage and related issues that usually arise from a lack of repair.
How To Stop Dripping Noise From Air Conditioner FAQs
Why does my Window AC Sound Like Running Water?
Your window air conditioning system sounds like running water because of the cooling process. First, the unit draws in warm indoor air from the room. The AC unit then cools the air by passing it over the evaporator coil. Finally, it releases a whooshing sound when it blows the cool air back into the room.
Why does my Portable AC Sound Like Running Water?
Your portable AC unit sounds like running water because of the dripping sounds that water produces as it lands on the drip pan. All cooling systems cool the air by removing excess moisture from it. The excess moisture turns into water that starts making a dripping noise.
Central Air Conditioner Sounds Like Water Running
If your central air conditioning system sounds like running water, it is not draining properly. The drip pan may be overflowing with water. This may lead to water leakage in your home, among many other problems. You may need an HVAC technician to check the system for errors.
An AC system that is leaking can cause many problems in your home. General water damage and a wet furnace are the most common effects. You can tell if there is a problem with your air conditioner by listening to the sound that it produces.
Normal cooling systems usually produce a faint sound of dripping water. For faulty systems, you will hear a loud bubbling or gurgling noise. You need to identify the main cause of the noise before fixing it.
You may have to unclog the condensation drain line if it is easily accessible. You may also have to carry out routine repair and maintenance work to stop the noise.