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Bartels Heating & Cooling Blog

Why Is My AC Leaking Water?

water-drip-dropWhen you listen closely to the sound your central air conditioner makes while it runs, you’ll occasionally catch the noise of water dripping. Your AC doesn’t use water to provide cooling (that’s how evaporative coolers work, an entirely different type of cooling system), but water is a byproduct of how it operates.

And yes, that means your air conditioning system may start to leak. When you see water pooling around your AC, you’ll most likely need professional service for air conditioning in Cincinnati, OH to fix the problem—and it’s a problem you can’t ignore!

We’ll look a bit more at why your AC may start leaking water.

Where the Water Comes From

Let’s explain why you have water in your AC in the first place. The evaporator coil in the indoor unit of the air conditioner is where cold refrigerant draws heat out of the air that then heads into the ductwork. As the refrigerant evaporates because it’s in contact with warmer air, moisture in the air condenses onto the outside of the coil. It’s the same as the droplets you see on the outside of a glass of cold liquid. This condensate moisture drips from the coil and down into a pan below, where a pump and a drain removes it to the outside.

Now, why this water might leak …

The Condensate Pan Is Overflowing

This is the most common cause of water leaking from an AC. If too much moisture flows down into the pan, the drain becomes clogged, or the pump motor burns out, the water will rapidly spill over the edge of the pan. This pan isn’t designed to hold much water: it’s only an inch deep. Clogs in the drain can occur because of algae growth or dirt and small stones that might make their way into the AC system. If the evaporator coil freezes over—which is bad news all on its own—the ice melt can lead to too much water falling into the pan.

Technicians can fix these problems by cleaning the pan and drain or finding out what has caused the frozen coil.

The Pan Is Corroded

The condensate pan and the drain can become corroded over time, especially in an older AC that hasn’t received regular maintenance. (Yet another reminder how vital maintenance is for a properly working AC.) Corrosion weakens the metal and causes holes to open up in it, leading to water spilling out. If the drain corrodes, it can tear away from the pan and leave a large hole in the middle of the pan.

This can be fixed with repairs to the drainage assembly, possibly a replacement pan or drain. If the AC is more than 15 years old, these problems are often a warning it’s time for a new air conditioner entirely.

One Last Caution…

There is another liquid that may leak from the AC which may be mistaken for water: the refrigerant. Leaking refrigerant is a Class A Problem with an air conditioner. Although technicians can fix it without problem, you can’t delay calling them. Lost refrigerant puts the entire air conditioner in jeopardy of failing.

Call on Bartels Heating & Cooling “For a Comfortable Way of Life.” We offer 24-hour emergency service to repair your ailing air conditioning system.

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