One of the caution signs we tell homeowners about that will help them determine when they need repairs for their air conditioning in High Springs, FL is strange sounds. When you hear your AC making noises like hissing, bubbling, grinding, screeching, or clanging, it usually means something is wrong that requires the assistance of our HVAC professionals.
One sound you’ll hear from an AC that might be a bit odd but which is normal is dripping water. You’ve probably heard this many times before while your air conditioner was cooling down the house, and maybe you wondered at some point why it makes that sound. After all, an air conditioner doesn’t use water to cool the air. So why is there water dripping in your AC?
We’re going to answer that question here, not just because it’s an interesting bit of information, but because knowing the facts can help you recognize potential future problems.
Condensate Moisture in the AC
Your air conditioner doesn’t cool down the air with water, but the process of cooling the air creates water in your air conditioner. This is condensate moisture, and it’s the same as the droplets of water you see on the outside of a cold glass of liquid that’s sitting in the outdoor heat.
Your air conditioner cools the indoor air by evaporating cold refrigerant inside a coil. As the refrigerant evaporates, it draws heat from the air moving past it. A side-effect of this evaporation is that water vapor in the air condenses along the coil.
This water has to go somewhere, of course, and it can’t just drip down out of the HVAC cabinet and into the house. To catch the water as it drips from the coil, there’s a shallow pan set below the coil. A pump draws this water moisture down a drain and through a line that funnels the water to the outside the house.
When Condensate Removal Goes Bad
So that’s why you occasionally hear water dripping in your AC: it’s moisture from the air that’s condensed along the coil dripping into a pan. And for the most part, you won’t have to think about how this whole system works—until it stops working. Unfortunately, with the high humidity levels in Florida, problems with condensate moisture in air conditioning systems are a common source of repairs. Here are a few problems that can crop up:
- The condensate drain or line becomes clogged with algae and causes the pan to overflow.
- The drain comes loose from the pan and lets water drip out of the pan.
- The pan develops cracks and starts leaking.
- The condensate pump breaks and doesn’t remove water from the pan, again causing overflow.
If you see water seeping out of the HVAC cabinet, don’t mop it up and ignore it. A broken condensate system will cause the AC to eventually shut off, and the water can damage other parts of the HVAC system. It can also lead to mold growth in the AC, which will cut down on efficiency and create the dreaded “dirty sock syndrome” that spreads a really unpleasant odor around the house. Our technicians are ready to help, no matter the problem.