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How Gurgling Could Signal Problems With the AC Refrigerant or Condensation Drain

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If your air conditioner makes a gurgling sound when it runs, you may wonder what's causing the sound and if the problem could be dangerous. A gurgling sound is usually caused by fluids, and fluids are in a couple of places in your air conditioner: the refrigerant lines and the condensation drain. Here are some problems these parts of your AC can develop and the repairs that could be needed.

Why a Condensation Drain May Gurgle

Gurgling in a condensation drain is often caused by a clog in the drain. The condensation drain runs from your AC to the outdoors or to a floor drain. It's the pipe condensation from your AC uses to flow away from the equipment.

First, the condensation collects in a drain pan, and then it flows out the drain. Algae sometimes grow in the pan and get in the drain to cause a clog. The solution for this problem is fairly simple.

The air conditioning repair technician clears the clog from the drain so water flows through it freely again. They might use suction or blow the drain clean. Once that's done, the technician might add an algae treatment to the drain pain to reduce the risk of another clog.

If the drain clog isn't cleared fast enough, your AC might shut itself down so water won't harm the equipment. In that case, you might be hot and miserable until repairs are done.

Why a Refrigerant Line Might Gurgle

Gurgling is caused when liquid and air mix. If the gurgling sound is coming from the refrigerant lines, that's a clue air is getting in the lines. Since the refrigerant system is supposed to be closed, air would only get through if there's a loose joint or cracked line. 

An air conditioning repair technician can test the refrigerant pressure to confirm there's a leak in the system. Then the location of the leak is found and repaired. This could involve tightening a connection or patching a hole in the copper refrigerant line. A refrigerant leak is a serious problem since your AC will not keep your home cool once the refrigerant gets too low.

A gurgling noise might not be an emergency, but it is a sign of a problem with your AC that should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent even more problems from developing. Fortunately, an air conditioning repair technician can find and fix gurgling problems so your AC quiets down and gets back to keeping you cool.