Water dripping from the inside unit of your central air conditioning system can be alarming. The last thing you want to deal with is water damage in your home and a repair bill. Unfortunately, if you find a puddle of water under your unit, it can indicate a severe issue.
Your central air conditioner works by removing heat from the air in your home and expelling it outside. During the cooling process, air flows over the evaporator coil in the indoor unit of your system. The coil absorbs heat from the air, cooling it down significantly. At the same time, the moisture in the air condenses into tiny water droplets on the surface of the coil. You can think of this as how dew forms on your grass in the early morning when the temperature drops overnight.
The condensed water accumulates on the evaporator coil and eventually forms larger droplets. These droplets then drip into a condensate pan, which is positioned directly beneath the coil. From there, the water flows through a drain line and is discharged outside your home. This prevents excess water from building up within the air conditioner and causing damage or mold growth.
When operating correctly, your cooling system should not leak water into your house. However, several issues can cause this to happen.
The most frequent cause of leaks in home air conditioners is a clogged drain line. The main culprits are dust, dirt, and other particles present in the air. These particles can find their way into the line and accumulate, narrowing the passage and eventually causing a blockage. When the line is clogged, water backs up and can lead to leaks, reduced cooling efficiency, and even potential damage to your HVAC system. If you have a clogged drain line, it is best to contact a HVAC professional to clean it out to ensure proper drainage.
The drip pan under the evaporator coils in your cooling system may become cracked or rusted over time, causing water to leak. Replacing a drip pan requires specialized tools and knowledge, which is why it’s important to contact an HVAC company. Even tiny cracks can lead to significant water leakage, damaging other parts of the AC unit.
A clogged filter can impede proper airflow through your air conditioner. In order to work properly, warm air from your home must continuously flow over the evaporator coil in your unit. When it does not, the refrigerant in the coil gets too cold and causes condensation to freeze on the coil’s surface. This eventually leads to a layer of ice on the coil. This ice melts when your air conditioner stops running, like in the evening when outdoor temperatures drop. The water from the ice melting off the coils exceeds the capacity of your cooling system’s drainage system, causing a leak.
The best way to prevent this scenario is to have your air conditioner maintained regularly. During maintenance, an HVAC technician will switch out your air filter. In addition, they will clean the internal components of your unit and ensure proper refrigerant levels, which are tasks that will also prevent your evaporator coil from freezing up.
If you just get a new air conditioner and it is leaking, it may not have been installed correctly. An indoor unit that is not perfectly level will leak because water pools in one corner of the drain pan and overflows onto the floor. Another installation issue may be that the drain line or condensate pan is too small for the size of the air conditioner resulting in a water backup. Finally, the connection between the line and the pan may not have been properly sealed, resulting in dripping water. A reliable HVAC company can correct any of these issues to ensure your cooling system works the way it should.
At Bruce Heating & Air, we have been serving the residents of Kennewick, WA for over 30 years. We install, maintain and repair heating and cooling systems. . In addition, we provide indoor air quality and ductwork services.
Contact Bruce Heating & Air today if you have a dripping air conditioner or for any other HVAC issues.