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Gowland's Heating & A/C Blog

Why Is Water Leaking From My Air Conditioner?

Water

When your home’s central air conditioner is running, you’ll expect to hear several sounds from it: the whir of the motors powering the fans and the compressor, a slight rattle from the vents as the system starts up, and the occasional dripping of water. 

So you know that water is involved at some point in the cooling process. It therefore might not come as a surprise when you see water leaking from the AC’s cabinet. But what is causing this? Is it something that requires calling us for AC repair in Covington, LA?

Yes, This Is Likely a Repair Concern

To answer the second question first, you shouldn’t see water escaping from the indoor cabinet of your AC. You don’t want water to drip inside your house! Your air conditioning system is designed to remove the water to the outside of your home and deposit it on the ground. If it’s escaping the indoor cabinet, something is wrong. 

This leaking water not only risks water damage to your home, it can create corrosion inside the HVAC system, cause the AC to shut down, and lead to the growth of mold and mildew in the air conditioning system.

Where the Water Comes From

Are you unsure why your AC needs to drip out water in the first place? It’s a natural part of how a refrigerant-based air conditioning system operates. 

Your AC cools down the air in your house by evaporating cold refrigerant inside the indoor coil. As the refrigerant evaporates, it draws heat from the warm air that the blower moves past it. But the coil draws something else from the air along with the heat: moisture. The water vapor in the air—and there’s plenty in Louisiana’s climate!—condenses onto the coil’s surface. This is the same action that causes moisture droplets to form on the outside of a glass of cold liquid.

The water along the coil drips off it and into a shallow plastic pan beneath the coil assembly. The water exits the pan through a drain, drawn by a pump, and moves along a plastic line to the outside of the house, where it drips to the ground. 

How Water Can Escape the AC

There are several reasons why this condensate system can malfunction and lead to water dripping out of the AC.

  • The drain is clogged up. The usual culprit clogging a condensate drain is algal growth, which can easily start in a damp, dark environment. If the drain is blocked, the water in the pan will rapidly overflow it and slosh out of the AC. When this happens, a limit switch will usually cause the AC to shut down. 
  • Corrosion on the drain can cause it to become detached from the bottom of the pan. This leaves behind a hole the water will fall through.
  • In high humidity, the amount of water from the evaporator coil can overwhelm the condensate system. This is often connected to other problems in the AC.
  • The pump may break and stop moving water down the drain.

You will need professionals to handle these repairs. Technicians can replace the pump, the drain, clean out clogging, or find whatever other problem is affecting the air conditioner.

Gowland’s Heating & A/C believes in “Relationship over revenue!” Trust us with your AC repair needs in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.

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