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A Dripping Sound: Bad News for Your AC?

When you hear an appliance make a “dripping” noise, that can usually be a sign of disaster. Something can be leaking, clogged, or even ruined due to an inflow of water where it shouldn’t be. Especially with systems that require electricity, just a tiny bit of water dripping can shut down and ruin a piece of equipment that you depend on.

Luckily for you, in this situation hearing a dripping air conditioner isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, if you hear any concerning noises coming from your AC unit, then you might need air conditioning service in Metairie, LA, but dripping can mean that the system is actually running normally, depending on certain factors.

To begin answering this question, we need to take a look at how your air conditioner deals with humidity. Then, we can talk about what a dripping sound really means, and why it may or may not be a problem.

Where Dripping Comes From

Air conditioners can make a dripping sound for one very good reason. Depending on how much humidity is in the atmosphere, the AC might cause the moisture to condense and turn from vapor to liquid. This dries out the air making it feel more comfortable, but it also leads to a lot of water forming on the coils of the system.

Luckily, the manufacturers of your air conditioner thought of this ahead of time and designed the system to allow moisture to collect on the coils and drip into the condensate pan, where it collects and is eventually drained. Simple and effective!

This dripping noise is normal for air conditioners, especially on an extremely humid day, as it just means that condensate is dripping off of the system into the pan.

Is Your AC Leaking Refrigerant?

Some homeowners might then ask us “Well, could my air conditioner be dripping refrigerant that’s leaking?” And the answer, as you should be happy to hear, is not really.

Refrigerant makes two unique sounds when it leaks from refrigerant lines–hissing and bubbling. Since refrigerant is a gas for half of the cooling process, it simply hisses as it escapes from the line into the atmosphere. And, since refrigerant is denser than air when it’s a liquid and there’s a hole in the line, the bubbling noise is actually air bubbles entering the refrigerant line. So no, your dripping air conditioner is probably not leaking refrigerant.

Problems With Your Condensate Drain

You’re not out of the woods yet! Just because your air conditioner is dripping water and not refrigerant doesn’t mean that it’s in perfectly fine condition. There could be a problem with your condensate drain or pan, and that problem could be getting worse over time. Only repairs from a licensed professional can fix them adequately.

For instance, if you detect a “dirty sock” smell from your dripping air conditioner, then the condensate drain might be clogged. The reason for this foul odor is due to the fact that mold is beginning to grow where there is stagnant water that can’t drain out. This means that your air conditioner is propagating mold throughout your home unless you get this problem fixed!

Contact Natal’s HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical to have your air conditioner inspected or repaired. Service Honoring the Golden Rule!

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