When you spot water pooling around your water heater, you know you’ve got a serious problem that requires water heater pros to inspect and fix. But what about when you see water leaking from the indoor unit of your air conditioner? An air conditioner doesn’t run on water, so are leaks a serious problem and a reason to call us for air conditioning repair in Colorado Springs, CO? The answer is almost certainly yes, although it requires more explanation. Let’s get to it…
The Source of Water in an Air Conditioning System
An air conditioner uses heat exchange to cool down the air in a space: by circulating refrigerant through a set of indoor and outdoor coils, it draws heat energy from inside and exhausts it outside. This process doesn’t use water, nor is there any water put into the air conditioner. The water you occasionally hear dripping inside the unit comes from the conditioned air. As the cold refrigerant in the indoor coil evaporates, it causes water moisture from the air to condense along the coil. It’s the same effect as condensation forming on a glass of cold liquid on a hot day.
The AC must remove this condensate moisture. The water drips into a pan below the coil assembly, then exits down a drain with the help of a condensate pump. The water travels through a line to outside the house where it drips onto the ground.
Leaking Water Comes From Condensate Troubles
You might already start to understand how this process can run into problems and lead to water leaking out of the AC. See how many of these sources of AC leaks you’ve already guessed:
- The condensate pan has cracks. The pan is usually made of plastic, so it may become brittle over time and crack.
- The condensate drain has developed clogs, allowing water in the pan to overflow it. This can happen rapidly if the drain has algal growths since the pan is only 1” deep.
- The condensate drain has become detached from the bottom of the pan, leaving a gap for water.
- The condensate pump has burned out and cannot effectively draw water down the drain line.
- The drain line has become blocked, possibly from the outside.
- Excess humidity has overwhelmed the condensate drainage system. (Rare in our climate.)
The Fast & Easy Resolution
Please don’t attempt to diagnose why your AC is leaking. If you notice water pooling around the indoor unit, call us to repair the system. You may also notice your thermostat screen has gone blank. This means the water overflow has tripped the AC’s limit switch and shut it down.
You want this repaired as soon as possible. Not only will condensate drainage problems potentially shut off the AC, they can also lead to water damage in your house and the growth of mold and mildew in the AC that will inhibit its effectiveness and efficiency. (It’ll also make your house smelly.)
Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning serves Colorado Springs and the surrounding area. Call us for AC repair—we offer 24-hour emergency service.