Your air conditioner produces water, but it should drain away without any problems. When you notice dripping or pooling water, you may worry about the function of your system or water damage on your property. There are many causes, and you should address it quickly before it gets worse. Waiting too long can lead to mold, mildew growth, or expensive repairs. If you’re wondering, “Why is my AC dripping water?” we have important information for you.
There are several reasons that would cause your air conditioner to leak water. Condensation is a regular byproduct of the cooling process. Anything that increases the rate of condensation or makes it more difficult for the condensation to drain could lead to leaks or water damage. Following are a few of the most common causes.
As part of the cooling process, your air conditioner extracts a certain amount of moisture from the indoor air. The humidity condenses into water. The condensation must go somewhere, which is the purpose of the condensate drain line. If the drain line gets clogged with dirt, debris, or ice, the water cannot drain away safely. Without a prompt resolution for the clog, the drain pan will fill up and could overflow.
A condensate drain line is like other plumbing in your home or business. As such, the line can sustain damage or get disconnected from the drain pan. When that happens, the drain pan has nowhere to send the water so it leaks out of the pan. In the case of a broken line, the water might drip or collect below the line. If you cannot address the AC unit dripping water, it may shut off to protect the equipment.
Condensation management requires a drain pan that is in good condition. As your unit gets older, the drain pan can start to wear down. You may notice cracks or holes with water dripping out of them. Although the water may drip out of the pan through the holes, it is still a problem. The surface underneath the pan may show signs of water damage, which can get worse over time.
When it comes to the process of extracting heat and humidity, the evaporator coil is the key part. Ideally, the evaporator coil allows the refrigerant to cycle through it, drawing heat out of the air. If the evaporator coil gets dirty, it can’t release the heat and humidity in the form of condensation. Instead, the condensation collects on the coil and can freeze. A frozen coil causes short cycling and ineffective cooling.
While many systems rely on gravity to pull the condensation out of the drain pan and through the line, others need a pump to remove it. It’s important to know which system you have to determine the cause of the problem. Like other automated tools, the pump can break down or stop working effectively. Inspecting and repairing the pump would be necessary to keep the drain functioning.
The air conditioner needs the right amount of refrigerant to operate correctly. On occasion, the refrigerant line leaks, leading to low refrigerant levels. When there isn’t enough refrigerant in the coil, the temperature drops and the coil can freeze. A frozen coil disrupts the cooling process, and the coil must defrost before it can start again. If the refrigerant level remains low, the problem will continue.
On occasion, you may notice your air conditioner leaking water at a time when you don’t normally need cooling. Accidental operation of the AC unit might be a user mistake or a sign of problems in the system. You should plan to operate the air conditioner when the outside temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, you run the risk that parts could freeze and drip water as they melt.
Once you know that you have dripping water from your AC unit, you need to arrange for repair as soon as possible. The system cannot operate well with any of these causes, and it’s possible that there is more than one problem. There are a few likely solutions that HVAC specialists can focus on:
Even if you’re reasonably sure of the cause, it’s important to get an expert opinion. We may be able to identify other sources of the leak, which we can help you solve.
When you have an AC dripping water, you don’t have a lot of time to ponder the problem or research the best solution. Gene May Heating & Cooling provides expert service, installation, and maintenance on air conditioning systems. We have been serving homes and businesses in Joliet and the surrounding areas since 2007. To learn more about our services or to schedule repairs, contact us today!