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Why Is My Air Conditioning System Dripping Water?

Air Conditioning Dripping WaterNo matter what type of air conditioner you have on your home—split system, packaged system, or window unit—they all work similarly and will produce water through condensation. This is a normal function of all AC systems to create cold air and can make it look like your air conditioner is leaking water.

The water condensation is created by the following AC operations:

  1. When the ac unit is turned on, it starts to pull the warm humid air out of your home and over the cooling coils.
  2. The cooling coils are colder because they are filled with some type of refrigerant that is circulating through the coils.
  3. The water vapor in the warm humid air starts to condense on the cooling coils.
  4. As more water condenses, it will eventually start dripping off the coiling coils into a drain pan.
  5. As the drain pan starts to get full, the water slowly drains away down a connected condensate drain line or drain pipe.

Depending on the type of AC system you have installed, it will determine how the drain pipe is connected. On split systems and packaged systems, where the AC cooling coils are outdoors, the condensate drain line is normally attached to the side of the unit and drains directly into the ground away from the unit.

For indoor air conditioners, the drain pipe could be connected to one of your plumbing drain lines. For window ac units, the condensate drain line is located on the back of the unit, farthest from the window. The water drips out of the line and onto the ground.

When Air Conditioning Leaking Water Is Not Normal

Water on Floor Because AC BrokeThere are a few different situations where air conditioners leaking water is not normal. An excessive amount of water flowing from under the base of an outdoor unit or water backing up inside the home around the indoor part of a split AC system could be caused by the following problems:

  • Clogged Drain Line: If the drain line gets clogged, the drain pan will overflow since water cannot flow out the drain pipe.
  • Rusted or Damaged Drain Pan: On older units, the drain pans were made of metal and can rust, so water just flows freely from under the unit. On newer units, the pans are made of plastic but could still crack and break from normal wear and tear.
  • Dirty Cooling Coils Vents: If the cooling coils and air vents on your outdoor unit are dirty, it can create airflow problems and cause the condenser and evaporator coils to freeze. When they thaw, it creates excess water, and the drain pan overflows.
  • Broken or Disconnected Drain Pipe: If the drain pipe is broken or becomes disconnected from the drain pan, the water will not drain correctly.
  • Refrigerant Level Is Low: If your AC system is low on refrigerant, it, too, will cause the condenser coils and evaporator coils to freeze.
  • Condensation Pump Broken: Some units have a condensation pump that pumps the water out of the condensate pan and into the drain line. If the pump breaks, the pan can overflow.
  • Dirty Air Filter: If the air filter is dirty, it can cause your AC unit to work harder to cool your home. Since the HVAC system is working harder, it can overheat and cause the condenser and evaporator coils to freeze.
  • Refrigerant Leak: If a crack develops in the condenser or evaporator coils, refrigerant leaks out of the system. If it is hot outside, the refrigerant will create condensation that makes it look like your ac is leaking. If you notice your air conditioner is not cooling properly, you could have a refrigerant leak.

To determine what is causing water to leak from your AC system or if you have general concerns or questions about why your air conditioner is leaking water, call a professional air conditioner repair technician from Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today!

We perform AC repairs, replacements, tune-ups, and inspections in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, and the Austin Metro Area.

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