You don’t normally want water leaking from any appliance or any part of your home. If you spot water starting to pool around the base of the indoor cabinet of your AC, you’re right to think that it’s abnormal. Your air conditioner creates water as part of how it operates—in fact, you can often hear the water dripping in it when it runs—but a central AC is designed to keep the water from getting into your house. When you notice water escaping from the AC, it’s usually a warning to call us for air conditioning repair in Conway, AR.
Where the Water Comes From
To explain why water can leak from an air conditioner first requires that we explain why there’s water in the AC in the first place. If you know something about the basics of air conditioning, you’ll know that ACs don’t use water to cool the air.
AC systems evaporate cold refrigerant through an indoor coil to cool the air. But the evaporating refrigerant doesn’t just pull heat from the air; it also causes water vapor in the air to condense along the coil. It’s the same process you see when water droplets form along the outside of a glass of cold water. This moisture is known as condensate.
Where Condensate Moisture Goes
The moisture that forms along the evaporator coil will drip off the coil, and if there’s nothing to catch it, it will fall right out of the AC. This is what you see in window AC units: the moisture falls out of the exterior section of the AC and harmlessly onto the ground. But in a central AC, water dripping from the cabinet would fall into the house!
To prevent this, an AC has a condensate pan located right beneath the coil. A pump then draws the water down a condensate drain. The water travels through a plastic line to the outside of the house, where it drips onto the ground.
How the Condensate System Can Malfunction
The usual cause of water leaking from an AC is a problem with this condensate removal system. The drip pan catching the water is only about an inch deep, so it doesn’t take much to make it overflow. The most common cause of overflow is a blocked drain. Algal growths in the drain can easily stop the removal of water and cause the pan to overflow. Fixing this requires having professionals clean out the drain.
Another source of overflow is a broken condensate pump. The motor in the pump can burn out just like any other motor, and this will stop water from leaving the pan.
Corrosion along the condensate drain can cause the drain to break away from the bottom of the drip pan. When this happens, it will leave a hole in the pan and water will fall through it.
Leaving any of the problems without a remedy risks not only water damage, but mold growth in the AC and the cooling system shutting down. When you see water leaks, call our experts as soon as you can to have the problem diagnosed and fixed.
Dewees HVAC proudly serves the Conway area. Call us whenever you need accurate AC repairs—we are here to keep you comfortable!