gurling sound at refrigerent lines

Today’s inspection had one of the systems where the refrigerant lines near the air handler in the attic was gurgling like air bubbles in the line. Anyone have an idea what is causing the noise?

Sounds like low refrigerant. Are your sure the sound was not coming out of the condensate drain or water blowing around inside the coil?

Yeah, the noise was coming from an area about 18 inches away from the air handler. I turned it off and let set for about 15 minutes, started it up and the noise came back.

Flashing in the line. The refrigerant is flashing (i.e., boiling) from a liquid to a gaseous state in the pressure line before it gets to the coil. Often due to low Freon charge.

Mucho mahalo chuck

Rheem manufacturing states two causes low refrigerant charge and noncondensibles, ie air. Write it up.

Chuck is correct but not necessarily about low refrigerant.

The way the temperatures have been running the last couple of months, this is a common occurrence recently.

It gets so darn hot outside, the equipment is at its design temperature, you can’t remove enough heat from the refrigerant by the time it leaves the condensing coil so as the liquid refrigerant passes through the metering device it flashes off liquid refrigerant sufficient enough to cool the remaining liquid refrigerant to the saturation temperature of the evaporator coil (40°F). This flashing and subsequent gurgling is liquid and gas and refrigerant passing through the valve.

Simply hearing or feeling this condition is not sufficient information to require further investigation unless you want to pay for the service call and make everybody feel good.

As just about everything else, you don’t base your decision on a service call from one particular observation. I think there is sufficient amount of information on this website about a dozen or more things that you can check that you can use to determine if the gurgling sound is related to a hot suction line which is related to a cold condenser fan discharge, frosting refrigerant lines at the metering device (indication of moisture/restriction).

Grab a hold of the liquid line when it is above 90F and you feel any heat, the system is more than likely not under charged and the heat you feel must be stabilized to the saturation temperature of the evaporator coil before it can proceed with the job.

I am not disputing the information from Rheem because when you have insufficient refrigerant charge and a substantial load, the refrigerant tends to pass through the condensing unit faster than necessary and it doesn’t have time to cool off, thus the gurgling effect of flashing refrigerant.

If you’re section line is cool, the liquid line is hot and you hear googling, you just have a heavy load.

I just don’t want everyone to jump on the bandwagon and think that gurgling sounds means a refrigerant charge problem!

If you call me to check your refrigerant charge because his gurgling, what prevents me from charging you for 2 pounds of refrigerant that you have no way of proving that I put in there? And if you want to talk about moisture, why wouldn’t I charge you $290 to cleanup your refrigeration system for you when it’s not really required or necessary?

“My home inspector says there is moisture in my machine”!

Okay, if he says so I’ll clean her up!

I agree and the system I have to say working quite nicely, although there were several other issues that needed attention, i.e. loose ducts condensation dripping off the condensation lines and vegetation around the condensers, so I had no problem mentioning the gurgling sound in the report.

As for hot weather we are spot on at 89 degree, typical for this time of year.

Mark your Summer Outdoor Design Temp is 87F Dry Bulb, 73F Wet Bulb.

So, your are exceeding your design load.
It should be making noise! :wink: