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Why Is There Water Leaking From My Air Conditioner?

question-mark-badgeYou don’t want anything in your house to leak, especially not parts of the plumbing or the water heater. But have you thought about the air conditioning system leaking? It may not have crossed your mind it could happen, until you see evidence that it’s happening: water dripping out of the HVAC cabinet and starting to puddle on the floor.

“What is going on?”

We can hazard a good guess, since this is a common problem we’ve seen in many air conditioners. And it’s also one we’ve fixed many times. We’ll go into what is probably going on below, but chances are high you’ll need to call us for air conditioning repair in Katy, TX to correct the trouble. You may lose your cooled home without proper repairs.

The Water in Your AC

Why is there water in your air conditioning system in the first place? It’s because of moisture condensation along the evaporator coil. Cold refrigerant moves through the evaporator coil, which draws heat from the air to cool it down for the rest of the house. As the refrigerant evaporates in the coil, it also causes moisture in the air to condense along the coil. (This slightly dehumidifies the air, although it’s not a substitute for an actual whole-house dehumidifier.)

Where This Water Goes

The water on the coil will drip off it, and the air conditioner has a condensate drainage system to catch and remove it. A shallow drain below the coil collects the moisture. A pump then draws the water out of a drain. A tube carries the water outside, where it safely drips onto the ground.

What Goes Wrong That Allows This Water to Drip Out

Now that you know why there’s water in the air conditioner and where it’s supposed to go, you can probably imagine why it might end up dripping out.

The most common problem is that the drain becomes clogged. Humidity in the drainage condensate system can lead to algae growing and eventually blocking the drain. The shallow condensate pan isn’t equipped to hold more than a tiny bit of water, so it will quickly slosh out of it. The AC is equipped with a limit switch that will trip when this happens and shut off the system. If you see water dripping from the air conditioning cabinet and the AC won’t turn on, it’s probably because of an overflowing condensate pan. Technicians can clean out the drain and restore the system.

The condensate pump can also break because of an overheated motor. The effect is the same: the condensate pan will overflow and the limit switch trip.

A third possibility is the drain has come loose from the pan, which can occur because of corrosion. In this case, the water will drip right through the pan. This will not trip the limit switch, making it easier to ignore the problem. But please, don’t allow your air conditioner to continue to drip water! It risks causing damage to the rest of the air conditioner and to the furnace, which is usually stored underneath the evaporator coil.

Look to AC Comfort to get your air conditioning system back on the job. Your comfort is our business!

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