Water leaking from a faucet or from underneath your sink is never ideal, but it’s something you may have come to expect from time to time as a homeowner. But water leaking from your air conditioner might come as a much bigger surprise. And it’s certainly not a welcome one; leaky air conditioners can damage whatever they are located near or above. We’ve heard of homeowners having to make hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair water damage in ceilings, walls, flooring, kitchen cabinets, and other structural elements.
You want to know how this happened, and we’ve got some answers below. Of course, the most important thing is that you shut off your air conditioner, attempt to mitigate the damage, and call a technician for repairs. In addition, call a technician for maintenance services once a year to prevent these types of problems!
Problems from the Condensate Line
The first probable reason water can leak from an AC is the condensate line. Your air conditioner does not run on water. Water is not necessary for the cooling process to take place; heat transfer is a job for refrigerant. However, water can collect on the components of your air conditioner with time.
The evaporator coil inside of your AC system has refrigerant running through it, which can absorb heat from the air, cooling off the coil as a result. Now, picture this like a cold glass of water on a hot day. The glass forms little droplets on the outside of it as water vapor in the air (humidity) condenses. The same thing happens as warm, humid air moves over the evaporator coil. Drops of condensation collect.
Of course, this condensation should have some place to drain. A drip pan underneath the evaporator unit allows droplets to move toward a drainage pipe, the condensate drain, and move away from the home. But there are some things that can go wrong with this system.
- The condensate drainage line can clog up with debris, causing water to overflow into your home.
- The tray can move out of place.
- The tray may not be angled or installed properly to begin with, making water overflow from the pan at a faster rate.
Freezing and Thawing Evaporator Coils
Another potential cause of water leaking into your home is a frozen evaporator coil. If you take a look at your indoor air conditioner coil and notice that it is frozen over, this is not normal. It means that refrigerant is low or that there is not enough warm airflow moving past the coil. In either case, your air conditioner will not cool properly, and you’ll notice problems soon enough.
Besides, a frozen coil can thaw out, causing water to flood the condensate pan too quickly. There are condensate pumps installed in some condensate systems to move water along faster, but this is often done for large commercial air conditioners. If your air conditioner is freezing up, you need to repair the source of the problem, whether that’s a dirty air filter or a problem with your fan motor.
Bartels Heating & Cooling installs and services air conditioners in Mason, OH. Contact our team today!