Air Conditioner Sounds Like Water Dripping? Our Guide Can Help!

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Air conditioners are indispensable in many workplaces and homes. They are engineered to meet a wide range of demands, from increasing your level of comfort on a hot day to getting rid of allergens in the air for a clean breath.

Air Conditioner Sounds Like Water Dripping

While they are built with comfort in mind, these cooling units can be counterproductive when they start making unusual noises.

Is your air conditioner producing water noises like:

  • Rushing?
  • Splashing?
  • Dripping?
  • Or gurgling/bubbling?

Well, you don’t have to beat yourself up. It’s common for AC units to make water noise, but it shouldn’t be ignored. So, it’s only fair to try to understand why your AC unit has suddenly become a nuisance.

In this post, we’ll consider why your AC conditioner sounds like water dripping, how to fix it, and possible ways to help prevent this problem in the future.

Reason Why Your Air Conditioner is Making That Drip, Drip, Drip Sound

On a hot, humid day, your AC unit is likely to produce that dripping sound 一 why? To explain the reason, you need to understand the working principle of an air conditioning system.

This cooling system is designed to draw in and cool warm, moist air before redistributing the cooled air back into your space. The cooling process is done by the condensing coils, which trap air moisture and condense it. Therefore, remove the condensate from the air and build up in a pan. Thus, your AC unit sends back cold, dry air to lower the indoor temperature.

With this in mind, imagine how much condensation your unit is collecting as it cools your room on a sweltering hot, humid day. So, the drip, drip, drip noise that you hear is the condensate being collected in the drip pan.

Therefore, how annoying the sound depends on the volume of water accumulated in the drip pan. However, some AC systems are designed to evaporate the condensate, while others utilize a drainpipe to lead the condensate outside.

Sounds Like Water Running? Here’s Why

All air conditioners are not built the same. Some models are self-evaporating, which means the condensate in the drip pan is evaporated instead of being drained outside via a condensate drain pipe.

Regardless of your model, your AC unit is designed to ensure that the drip pan does not overflow. Sadly, this won’t always be the case. So, if your cooling unit is starting to sound like water running, it’s likely that the drain pan is full to the brim and overflowing.

Another cause of the water running sound might be because you’re thawing a frozen cooling unit. With all the ice melting, it’s reasonable to expect such a sound. Else, you might be dealing with a blocked drain pipe causing the condensate to overflow.

My Air Conditioner Makes Bubbling or Gurgling Noise

A bubbling or gurgling noise from your AC is a sign of a pressure problem. When there’s a leakage problem, it tends to drop the pressure in the system, while overcharging the refrigerant results in high pressure.

When this imbalance in pressure happens, it forces the external air to make its way into the cooling system through areas it shouldn’t pass through, causing that annoying bubbling or gurgling noise to disturb you.

If that’s the case, this isn’t something you can fix. It’s best to call a trained AC professional to diagnose and fix the problem. Please do not attempt to use some DIY tips and tricks; it’s beyond the scope. You need someone with the right skill and tools to get your cooling unit quiet and functional.

How to Fix Air Conditioner Sounding Like Water Dripping

Solving dripping noise: as said earlier, an AC unit making a dripping noise is normal. However, if this noise becomes a nuisance, you can solve this problem by emptying the condensate drip pan. If this doesn’t work, then it’s likely your air conditioning system is faulty.

Fixing water running noise: Before calling a technician, you might want to check if the condensate drain pipe is not blocked. This might be the cause of the condensate being retained in the drain pan leading to an overflow.

Usually, you can fix this issue by looking at the external part of the condensate drain pipe for debris and dirt blocking the pip. To dislodge any blockage, you can use a dry/wet vacuum. Once this is done, the condensate should drain automatically and solve the issue of water running noise from your cooling unit.

If this noise persists, it’s recommended that you call your HVAC repair experts to diagnose and fix the problem. Unlike the water dripping noise, this problem tends to flood the cooling unit and cause more damage to your AC unit.

How to Prevent your AC Unit from Making Noise Again

No one wants to deal with a noisy AC unit, and it’s best to do everything possible to avoid such a scenario. The easiest way is to schedule maintenance with your HVAC technician. The preventive maintenance will include:

  • Cleaning the air conditioning unit.
  • Replacing broken parts.
  • Changing the AC air filters.

Else, you have to do the following to prevent your cooling unit from making disturbing noise:

  • Monitor the AC refrigerant levels to avoid low refrigerant levels from causing the coils to freeze.
  • Ensure you drain any excess water, especially when you’re thawing your AC unit
  • Check your drain pan and empty it if almost full.
  • Clean the condensate line to ensure no clogs and risk of water overflowing in your unit and home
  • Check the condensate pump
  • Replace the AC air filter; if dirty


While it might be typical for your air conditioning system to make some subtle noise, continuous loud noise can be problematic and disturbing. Therefore, it’s vital to diagnose this issue to get to the crux of the matter.

We’ve discussed some ways to fix the noise to ensure you regain your noise-free and peaceful office or home. Pay attention to the kind of noise your AC unit is making. This will help you choose the correct method to fix this noise problem.

Above all, an overflowing drip pan is terrible for your AC system. It will damage your unit and damage your home or office. Therefore, it’s best to fix the problems as soon as possible to avoid expensive repairs.

David Briley

David Briley

My name is David Briley, a soundproofing expert with a burning passion for curating and creating audio since adolescence. The need for a quiescent working and living environment cannot be overemphasized.

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