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Touchstone Heating & Air Inc. Blog

Water Dripping from the AC: Here’s What’s Happening

air-conditioner-units-near-grassWhen your home’s air conditioning system is running during the hot and humid Florida summers, you’ll occasionally hear a sound of water dripping inside it. This is a normal part of the AC’s operation: it’s the sound of water falling from the evaporator coil and going down a condensate drain.

So hearing water in the AC is no big deal. But if you see water dripping out of the AC in your house, something’s wrong and you may need to have professionals repair the system.

Why there’s water in your AC in the first place

Your air conditioner doesn’t use water to cool down the air. The water inside the AC is a byproduct of the way it works, which is to evaporate cold refrigerant along the indoor coil to absorb heat from the air. As the refrigerant evaporates, it also causes water vapor to condense from the air and form water moisture along the coil. In our humid Florida climate, this can mean a lot of water! The water drips from the coil and falls into a shallow pan below, the condensate pan. A condensate drain and pump then removes this moisture to the outside of the house, where it drips out harmlessly.

Condensate problems can mean water dripping from the AC

This is how the air conditioner removes moisture under optimal conditions. But trouble with the condensate line, pan, and pump can allow water to escape—and this will eventually lead to worse problems.

  • Clogged condensate drain: It’s not uncommon for algae to grow in the damp environment of the condensate pan and drain. Algal growth can clog up the drain, and this will quickly lead to water overflowing from the condensate pan and out of the AC. Not only will you see water coming from the indoor evaporator unit, you may discover that the thermostat screen has turned blank. This indicates that a limit switch has been triggered. Call for HVAC professionals to detach the condensate pan from the drain and clean the drain to solve this.
  • Loose condensate drain: Another reason for water escaping from the pan is because the drain has come loose. This can happen because of corrosion (a trouble that can start if the drain isn’t draining properly in the first place). Fixing this may require replacing the drain and pan.
  • Broken pump: The condensate pump uses a motor to run. Like any motor, it can burn out and stop working. This will cause the pan to soon overflow. In most cases, it’s best to have a broken condensate pump replaced.

Condensate drain problems not only threaten your home with water damage and a rise in humidity, they can cause mold and mildew to start to develop inside the AC. This harms the air conditioner’s efficiency and will send an unpleasant moldy odor into your living spaces. To arrange for great residential air conditioning services in Lake City, FL, to fix any condensate drain worries, we’re the contractor to call.

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