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Natal's Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical Blog

Water Leaking From Your AC … What’s Going On?


If you know anything about how a standard central air conditioning system works, you know that it doesn’t use water to cool down the air. So if an AC doesn’t use water, why are you seeing water dripping from your indoor HVAC cabinet and pooling on the floor?

This isn’t something you want to happen with your AC. We’ll explain what might be happening and why it usually calls for professional repairs. We’ve been serving the Big Easy with AC service since 1974, so when you need air conditioning repair in Metairie, LA for a leaky unit or anything else, we’re the experts to call.

Condensate Moisture in the AC

Although an air conditioner doesn’t use water to cool the air, it does create water as a byproduct of the cooling process. 

When an air conditioner draws warm air over the cold evaporator coil, the refrigerant inside the coil evaporates and absorbs heat from the air. This lowers the temperature of the air, but it also causes moisture in the air to condense along the coil’s surface. It’s the same effect as when a glass of cold liquid develops water droplets on the outside when taken out a refrigerator or ice box. 

This condensate moisture must go somewhere. It drips off the coil and lands in a condensate pan below the coil assembly. A condensate pump then draws the collected water down a drain and out of the home, where it drips onto the ground outdoors.

Condensate Drainage Problems

This system to remove moisture from inside the AC can malfunction and lead to water leaks. There are several common ways for this to occur:

A blocked condensate drain

Algal growths are a common issue in the condensate drain because of the amount of moisture. These growths will eventually block the drain. Because the condensate pan is only an inch deep, it will rapidly overflow the sides and drip out of the AC. When this happens, you may see the thermostat screen go blank; this is a sign that a limit switch has tripped to protect the air conditioner. Professionals can detach and safely clean out the drain and line.

Corroded drain

Another effect of moisture in the drain is corrosion. This can cause the drain to detach from the bottom of the condensate pan, leaving behind a gap in the pan where water will drip through. HVAC technicians will have to replace the corroded drain and reattach it to the pan. They may also need to replace the pan as well.

Cracked pan

The plastic condensate pan can wear down over time and develop cracks, allowing water to begin to drip through it. The pan will need to be fully replaced.

Broken condensate pump

If the motor in the condensate pump burns out, it will stop the water in the pan from being effectively drained out. The pan will soon overflow. The condensate pump must be replaced to restore the drainage system.

Call Natal’s Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical any time of the day or night when you have a malfunctioning air conditioning system. We deliver “Service Honoring the Golden Rule”!

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