When your air conditioning system is running, you’ll occasionally hear the sound of dripping water coming from the indoor cabinet. This is normal. You’re hearing condensate from the evaporator coil falling from the coil down into a pan.
The reason water develops in an air conditioner is because of the evaporation of cold refrigerant along the indoor evaporator coil. The process of evaporation removes heat from the air to cool it. But as a side-effect, the evaporation also causes moisture in the air to condense in droplets along the coil’s surface. Below the coil is a shallow pan—the condensate pan—which catches the water. A motorized pump then removes the water out a condensate drain and outdoors where it’s deposited on the ground.
But this drainage system doesn’t always work the way it should—and you may end up seeing water dripping from the indoor compartment.
The Different Causes of Condensate Leaks
There are a few different issues that might cause the water from the evaporator coil to drip out of the unit and inside the home:
- Clogged drain: The condensate drain can become clogged because of algal growths. When this happens, the pan will quickly fill up and overflow. (The pan is only about an inch deep.) Professionals can clean out the drain to fix this problem.
- Loose drain: Corrosion can cause the drain to detach from the pan, allowing water to fall through the pan and into the house. Professionals will have to replace the drain and probably the pan as well.
- Outdoor blockage: Something may be blocking up the drain line where it opens up to the outside, like dirt, gravel, or plants.
- Broken pump: The motor for the condensate drain pump can burn-out. A professional can install a new pump to fix this.
The Blank Thermostat Warning
When you see your thermostat screen has gone blank (if you have a digital model) and you can’t operate the air conditioning system, what’s likely happened is that the condensate pan has flooded and tripped an emergency limit switch. Check to see if water is dripping around the AC and call for help right away.
Don’t Let Leaking Continue
Even if the leaking hasn’t caused the AC to shut down, it’s something you must not allow to continue. Leaks will create an increase in humidity inside the air conditioner, and this leads to mold and mildew developing in the system—especially along the coil. Mold and mildew reduce system efficiency, create foul smells, and can send toxic spores into the air. If you have a HVAC cabinet with both an AC and furnace in it, water dripping from the air conditioner will land on the furnace, leading to corrosion that can be dangerous.
A-Avis Is Here to Help!
When you need fast air conditioning repair in Colton, CA, we’re the experienced local contractor to call. We have been family owned since 1947, and we take pride in providing the best customer service. Our technicians won’t leave your house until they know you are completely satisfied with their workmanship, no matter the job.