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3 Reasons Why Your AC Makes a Gurgling Noise

Reasons Why Your Ac Makes A Gurgling Noise

Your AC can start making a gurgling noise when running, suggesting something is wrong. It can be stressful to identify where the noise is coming from if you have never heard it before.

You must fix the problem to prevent it from becoming a major issue that can lead to expensive costs.

Air can be trapped in liquid coolant lines causing the gurgling noise. However, such cases are rare if the lines are properly sealed.

You can continue using your air conditioner, but you must look for an expert to check the exact cause of the gurgling sound.


Whenever your AC starts making unusual sounds, it suggests a problem. Understanding the noise and where it is coming from is crucial as it lets you know how to fix it.

There are various sounds your AC can make, such as slamming, clicking, and gurgling. This article focuses on the causes of gurgling noise and its major causes are:

  • Refrigerant Leak
  • Clogged Condensate Drain line
  • Damaged Condensate Pump

You need to diagnose the type of sound your AC is making by listening to it closely. The AC can produce different noises, such as clicking, gurgling, and slamming.

This article focuses on the gurgling noise, breaks down its major causes, and explains how to fix them.

The Major Causes of Gurgling Noise in an AC

The Major Causes Of Gurgling Noise In An Ac

If your AC starts making gurgling, the cause can be due to either of the following:

  1. Condensate Pump Problem
  2. Refrigerant Leak
  3. Clogged Condensate Lines

Condensate Pump Problem

Condensate Pump Problem

The condensate pump is responsible for transporting water from the drain line to the condensate line for discharge. It can produce gurgling sounds whenever it gets damaged due to excess moisture.

The condensate pump can get damaged due to malfunction, or water accumulates within the AC, making it wear down.

Various factors affect condensate pump performance. Over time debris can accumulate in the pump, preventing it from draining the water. Also, the motor in the condensate pump can wear out, affecting its performance.

If your condensate pump stops working, there are various ways you can troubleshoot it without the help of an expert. The following are step by step to troubleshoot your damaged condensate pump:

  1. Ensure the condensate pump receives power by checking that the power is on and there is no circuit break. Its wire needs to be plugged into an outlet, or the switch should be on if it is a hardwired pump.
  2. Tap the microswitch if the pump has power and the water is overflowing because the microswitch might be the reason for a failed float or cause motor failure.
  3. Inspect the float because debris can accumulate, causing the pump to shut off. If the float is off, you can tap on it until it starts moving freely. Ensure the float has no cracks or damage. You should replace it if it is cracked or damaged.
  4. Drain the water in the reservoir. If the AC is not running and the condensate pump has a safety switch, you can empty the water from the reservoir to continue using it for a while before you replace the condensate pump.
  5. Look for clogs. Find the drain hose, put an empty cup underneath, pour water into the holes at the top of the pump, and observe it makes it run. Please do not run the device without water in the reservoir because it can get damaged. If the water comes out, then the condensate pump has no clogs. Therefore, the valve and impeller might be dirty or damaged and should be cleaned or replaced.
  6. Wash the device valve. Debris can accumulate inside the condensate pump and form clogs on the valve. You can remove the valve from the drain line, clean it, and return it. If that was the cause of the problem, the action should restore the proper water flow.
  7. Clean the whole condensate pump. Sometimes cleaning the valve alone can restore the proper flow of the water. However, it is best to clean the entire device; it pumps water continuously, and debris can breed inside, causing clogs that prevent it from working properly. When the power is off, use warm water and soap to clean it. Ensure there is no water in the pump and reservoir.
  8. If you do all the steps provided and the AC continues to make gurgling noise, look for an expert to fix it.

Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant Leak

A gurgling noise can be a good indicator that the refrigerant is leaking.

Refrigerant is a cold chemical agent that absorbs heat in the house and dumps it outside.

If there is a refrigerant leak, the air enters through the leak site causing your AC to make a gurgling noise.

Refrigerant leak prevents your AC from cooling your house effectively and efficiently. Therefore, you must look for an expert to seal the leak site and refill the refrigerant because it is toxic.

Clogged Condensate Line

Clogged Condensate Line

AC system contains an evaporator coil that stores the cold refrigerant that condensates warm air. The condensate gathers at the bottom of the evaporator coils and passes through the condensate drain lines.

Over time debris, dirt, and mold assemble around it, causing the drain lines to clog. As a result, the condensate backs up the line, and the AC makes a gurgling sound.

Follow the steps below to unclog the condensate line:

  1. Get a wet or dry vacuum.
  2. Look for the end of the condensate drain line attached to the exterior wall.
  3. Attach the vacuum hose to the end of the condensate line.
  4. Run the vacuum for at least two minutes.
  5. Check the vacuum to see if it has dirty water. If the water turns brown, it suggests that you have unclogged the condensate drain line. If not, run it for the second time.
  6. If you do not achieve the desired results, contact an expert to come and help you because the clog might be higher in the drain line and can damage the AC system.


Whenever your AC starts making a gurgling noise, it indicates a problem. It would be best to observe it keenly to understand its noise and where it comes from.

There are several causes of the gurgling sound, but the major ones are a refrigerant leak, clogged condensate drain lines, and a damaged condensate pump.

Once you observe the noise and where it is coming from, it is easy to figure out how to fix it. If you try to fix the issues, but the problem persists, do not hesitate to contact an expert to help you fix the root cause of your AC problem.

It is advisable to do regular professional inspections and good maintenance to prevent your AC from making unusual noises. Always fix your AC issues immediately after you notice them to avoid costly repair charges later when the problem gets out of control.

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