When you see water puddling anywhere in or around your home where it shouldn’t be, with no explanation, it’s probably your natural instinct to call a plumber. This isn’t exactly the wrong move to make, but the fact is, you may be dealing with a leak coming from your air conditioner—in which case you’d want to give our HVAC pros a call.
Most homeowners don’t even realize their air conditioner uses water to operate. We’ll let you in on a little secret—it doesn’t.
Keep reading to learn more about how your cooling system operates, and to better understand why you’d see water leaking from the unit. And remember, it’s essential that you schedule routine maintenance to detect these problems early on, and schedule repairs as soon as you are alerted to their needs. A leaky water heater can be quite destructive, and end up costing you thousands to repair subsequent property damage.
Where the Water Comes From
This is an excellent question, as we just stated your air conditioner doesn’t use water in its operation. The water is actually coming from the air within your home. There’s always some level of humidity (which we’re all very familiar with in our area of the country)—water vapor that takes up space in the air.
You may often see this water vapor condense into liquid form. Think about when you’re drinking a cool glass of water on a hot day—you’re likely to see condensation form on the outside of the glass.
This same scientific principle applies to the warm air that moves over the cool condenser coil in your air conditioning system. Refrigerant moves through the evaporator coil and absorbs heat from the air in your home. The coil cools down, allowing it to dehumidify. As it does this, water vapor collects on the coil, and a condensate drain system helps it exit your system and your home.
A Condensate System Gone Wrong
Under normal circumstances, water drips off the indoor evaporator coil of your AC system into a tray underneath the coil unit. This tray—the condensate tray—is positioned at an angle, enabling water to drip into a hole at the bottom edge of the tray that leads to a condensate drain—a pipe that leads outside. A condensate system can’t do its job properly if:
- The drainpipe gets clogged with dirt and debris, allowing water to back up and overflow from the tray.
- The tray moves out of place or wasn’t positioned correctly to begin with.
- The indoor coil freezes due to a lack of airflow, later thawing all at once and overwhelming the condensate drain.
- There is too much humidity in your home. This is the case for many Valparaiso homes, and we’d recommend considering a condensate pump to help out.
“How Can I Prevent This Leakage?”
The best thing you can do to prevent not only condensate drain leaks but also the more hazardous refrigerant leaks is schedule routine professional maintenance. It’s during maintenance that our technicians will thoroughly inspect, clean, and adjust any components that need it within your cooling system.
We check the system very thoroughly, and we’ll alert you to any repair needs right away, including condensate system issues or refrigerant line breaches. If you’re between maintenance appointments and think you may have a problem with your system otherwise, please don’t hesitate to give our team a call for expert assistance.