If you listen to your air conditioning system while it’s running, you’ll occasionally hear the sound of water dripping inside it. The AC doesn’t use water to cool down the air, but water moisture is a byproduct of the heat exchange process that moves thermal energy from inside your home to the outside. But you should never actually see water dripping out of the indoor unit, or find water pooling around it. If you do, it means there’s a malfunction, and it needs to be repaired—not only for the air conditioner’s sake, but to prevent water damage and stop a rise in humidity.
The Case of the Air Conditioner That Dripped Water
So what’s actually happening to an air conditioner that appears to be leaking? The main culprit is a problem with the condensate pan, drain, or pump.
As the evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air, it also causes water moisture to condense along the coil. The excess water then drips down from the coil and into the condensate pan located below. A pump draws the water out through a drain and puts it into the wastewater system. But, if the drain becomes clogged up with algae or debris, the water will soon overflow the pan and start to spill out. (The pan is shallow, only about an inch deep.)
It’s also possible for the drain to have developed corrosion and broken loose from the pan, in which case water will simply drip out the bottom of the pan. A third possibility is a burnt-out pump, which won’t pull water down the drain.
You shouldn’t attempt to tamper with the condensate drainage system yourself. When you notice water escaping from your AC, call on professionals to service it.
Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical offers air conditioning repairs in Calabasas, CA and throughout Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.