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Why Your AC Is Leaking Water

water-dropletsYou probably know that if you see water leaking from your home’s water heater that it’s a major problem. But what about when water leaks from the air conditioner?

“Wait, my AC doesn’t run on water,” you might think. “Why would water start to leak from the cabinet?”

You’re correct that your air conditioner doesn’t use water to cool the air. (There’s a specific type of cooling system called an evaporative cooler that uses water, but we don’t see many of them where we live.) However, it does create water as part of how it operates, and it’s possible for problems with the air conditioner to lead to water leaking from the cabinet. Whatever the specific cause of the water leaking from your AC, it’s a problem that will require you to call us for air conditioning repair in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Where Water in the AC Comes From

If you listen to your air conditioning system when it’s running, you’ll occasionally hear the sound of dripping water. This is a normal part of how the air conditioner operates.

The indoor evaporator coil in the air conditioner is the place where the AC draws heat from the air. It does this by evaporating the cold refrigerant in the coil. Evaporation also causes moisture in the air to condense along the surface, much like water droplets form along the outside of a glass of cold liquid. This water has to go somewhere, since it can’t be left inside the air conditioner. 

When the water drips off the coil, it falls into a shallow pan placed right beneath the evaporator coil assembly. This is the condensate pan. A pump draws the water from the condensate pan down a drain and then through a line that goes to the outside of the house, where the water can harmlessly drip onto the ground.

Troubles With the Condensate Drainage System

When you notice water leaking from the indoor AC cabinet, it’s probably because of trouble with the drainage system. Several problems can cause water to start to drain improperly and instead leak from the cabinet:

  • The drain can become clogged with algal growth. Because the pan is only about 1” deep, a clogged drain will rapidly cause water to overflow from the pan.
  • Corrosion on the drain can cause it to become detached from the bottom of the pan, allowing water to fall through the gap left behind.
  • The condensate pump can fail and it will not draw enough water down the drain, causing the pan to again overflow. 

In some cases, water overflowing from the pan will trip a limit switch in the AC that will cause it to shut off. If your air conditioner stops working and the screen of the thermostat goes blank, then it’s likely the source is a tripped limit switch due to pan overflow.

You’ll need professionals to repair the problem. Allowing condensate water to pool inside the AC will damage the components with mold growth and corrosion. It will also lead to increased humidity inside your home. Call us ASAP and we’ll find out what’s wrong and fix it.

Make the Wise Choice, choose the home of the lifetime repair guarantee: Gibson Heating & Cooling.

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