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Why Your AC Is Leaking Water

water-lineHave you ever stopped to listen to your home’s air conditioning system as it runs? We recommend doing this occasionally, since it can sometimes identify when there’s a malfunction in it (you don’t want to hear grinding or hissing noises, for example). One sound you’ll occasionally hear that isn’t an indication of a problem is dripping water. Your air conditioner doesn’t use water to cool down the air—only special evaporative coolers do that—but water is a byproduct of how it works.

And where there’s water, there can be water leaks. You might see water dripping from your air conditioner at some point. It usually means the air conditioner must be repaired. We’ll explain why.

The Reason There’s Water in the AC in the First Place

An air conditioner works by evaporating cold refrigerant along an indoor coil. As the refrigerant evaporates, it draws in heat, and this is what cools down the air before it’s blown into the ventilation system. (The heat absorbed is exhausted outside when the refrigerant completes its cycle and condenses.) As the refrigerant evaporates, it also causes moisture from the air to condense along the coil. This condensate water is what you hear dripping inside the air conditioner.

Why the Water May Leak

Where does this water drawn from the air go? It can just drip out of the air conditioner: that would end up damaging the inside of a house and creating higher indoor humidity. An AC is constructed so the water drips down into a shallow condensate pan. A pump then draws the water from the pan through a condensate drain and moves it outdoors.

If you see water leaking from your AC, it usually means the condensate pan is overflowing or it has come loose from the drain and is letting the water fall right through it.

Because of all the moisture that passes through the condensate drain, mold and algae might start to develop inside it—and this can be enough to clog the drain. This will quickly cause the pan to overflow, since it’s only about an inch deep. Another reason for the overflow is if the condensate pump breaks from a burnt-out motor and doesn’t draw water from the pan. In either case, you’ll need to have a professional handle cleaning the drain or replacing the pump motor.

Corrosion in the condensate pan or drain is the principal cause of the drain coming loose and leaving a hole for water to drip through. Fixing this also requires a professional. You may need a new drain and condensate pan if the corrosion is bad enough.

Please don’t ignore any water drip from your AC! An overflow can cause the air conditioner to shut down, and any increase in the humidity levels inside the air conditioner can create mold in the system. If you need fixes for your air conditioning in Benton, LA, reach out to our HVAC technicians. We have 24-hour emergency service available.

Call the Doctor of Home Comfort today! Hall’s Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration serves Shreveport and the surrounding areas.

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