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Why Would an Air Conditioner Leak Water?

AC-evaporator-coil-air-conditioningA water leak from your air conditioner can cause hundreds or thousands of dollars in damages—yikes! First, let’s clear up some initial confusion about this topic. No, your air conditioner does not use water to run (unless it is an evaporative cooler, systems which are only common in dry desert climates). So where is the water coming from?

More importantly, what can you do to prevent water from leaking in the first place, and what should you do when you notice a problem? We’ll cover all of that in today’s guide. For more information, reach out to our friendly team!

Where’s the water coming from?

Water dripping from your air conditioning system, in that general vicinity, or from a ceiling underneath the indoor air conditioning unit, usually comes from condensate. You already know about condensation from any time you’ve had a glass of water that was cooler than the air in the house. A glass of ice water will develop condensate on the outside of it in a short period of time.

The reason for this is similar to the reason moisture collects on the indoor evaporator coil of your AC system. This coil gets quite cold as refrigerant inside of it absorbs heat. Warm, humid air blows past this coil and loses its heat, which also causes the water vapor to condense on the coil.

Why would water leak from your AC?

That condensate collecting on the coil in your AC system needs somewhere to go. Of course, engineers have planned for this, which is why there’s a drainage system in place. Water drips into a condensate tray, which is angled so that it can flow to the bottom of the tray and out through a drain pipe. However, things don’t always go smoothly.

  • The condensate tray might get knocked out of place or it could be installed improperly in the first place.
  • There may be too much condensate at once due to particularly humid air.
  • The indoor coil might freeze due to poor airflow or low refrigerant.
  • Most commonly, the drain pipe becomes clogged up with debris.

What do you do about a leaky AC?

If your air conditioner is leaking, you must call in a professional technician for AC repair ASAP! They might recommend a condensate pump, they may clean the pipes, or make a quick adjustment.

Most importantly, you should get the problem under control ASAP. Shut off the AC, and clean up as much of the mess as you can to prevent water damage and mold growth.

How do you prevent air conditioning leakage?

We recommend calling technicians in for air conditioning maintenance each year before the hotter weather begins, or as early in the season as possible. This way, a technician can check the condensate drain and help to control leaks before they begin.

Another way to prevent leaks is to change your air filter monthly. That helps to moderate airflow and prevent the coil from freezing and thawing out all at once.

Max Sr & Paul Schoenwalder Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, A Corp. was established in 1912—that’s over 100 years of service! Call our team today for AC service in Union, NJ.

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