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Why Your AC Might Be Leaking Water

waterWe’ve talked before about the problem of refrigerant leaks in air conditioners and how you can detect them early so you can call us for AC repair in Covington, GA. But more than refrigerant can leak out of your air conditioning system. Your AC can leak water as well.

You might think, “Wait, the AC doesn’t use water to cool down the air. It uses refrigerant.” First, take some pride in your HVAC knowledge—we hope this means you read our earlier blog! Second, you correctly identified that an AC doesn’t use water for cooling. But an air conditioner does create water as a byproduct of how it works, and its design allows it to remove this water from the cabinet and out of the house. If you listen to your air conditioner as it runs, you’ll occasionally hear the sound of water. That’s AC removing water through its condensate system. When this condensate system malfunctions, it leads to water leaks.

Where the Water Comes From

Why does the air conditioner create water as it cools the air? It’s a result of evaporating cold refrigerant in the indoor evaporator coil, which is how the AC draws heat from the air moving over the coil. As the coil pulls out heat, it also causes the moisture vapor in the air to condense along the surface, much the same way that water droplets appear on the outside of a glass of cold liquid.

The water on the evaporator coil drips off it and falls into a shallow condensate pan located under the coil. From there, a pump pulls the water down a drain and through a plastic line until it deposits it outside. 

How Leaks Can Start

The condensate system can have problems that will lead to water leaking from out of the AC. The main causes of leaking water include:

  • Clogged condensate drain: Because of the moisture in the condensate system, algal growths can start in the drain, and this will soon block the water flow. Soon, the water will overflow from the shallow condensate pan. 
  • Detached drain: If the condensate drain corrodes, it may become detached from the pan, leaving a hole for water to drip through. 
  • Broken pump: The motor in the condensate pump can burn out, and when that happens the water will not move down the drain line.
  • Excess moisture: A malfunction elsewhere in the air conditioning system may lead to too much moisture falling into the pan. For example, if the evaporator coil freezes, when the ice melts the amount of water can overwhelm the pan’s capacity. 

Fixing the Leaks

You don’t want leaks from your air conditioner. They can not only create water damage, they can cause the AC to shut down when it trips a limit switch and also lead to mold growth inside the system. You can solve the problem without difficulty: you only need to call us and we’ll take care of whatever caused the leaks.

At Snellville Heating, Air and Plumbing, “Your comfort Is OUR Business!” Reach out to us when you need AC repairs for water leaks … or anything else!

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