You may think that you know the warning signs to look out for when it comes to problems with your air conditioning system. An AC that is blowing warm air, for instance, is obviously a problem. An air conditioner that makes very loud noises when running, or that keeps shutting down rapidly, is an air conditioner that likely needs air conditioning repair in Columbia, MD. What about those problems that you didn’t realize may develop, though? What about something like an AC with a water leak?
Whoa whoa whoa, you may be thinking—a water leak? My air conditioner doesn’t have a water supply line. It doesn’t hold water in a tank. And it doesn’t have any use for water in its cooling process. So how could a water leak even be possible? That’s what we are going to explore today, and you’re right—it’s not really a water leak. Or, at least, it’s not a water leak in the way that you’re probably thinking of it.
What’s the Water Source, Then?
If your air conditioner is located at a low point in your home, then the source of the water that you see surrounding your indoor AC unit may actually have nothing to do with your air conditioner at all. It could just be a coincidence that it winds up around the AC unit. Why? Because you could have a plumbing leak or a leak in your foundation letting rainwater in, and that rainwater or water from the plumbing system will follow gravity’s pull to the low point where the AC is installed.
If this is not the case, then what you are likely dealing with is condensation. While your whole-house air conditioning system is not a whole-house dehumidifier, it is going to have a dehumidifying effect on the air in your home. As refrigerant evaporates in the evaporator coil, which is how air is cooled, moisture is drawn out of the air.
That moisture collects on your evaporator coil, and it is supposed to drip off into the condensate drain pan. From there, the water is supposed to be removed from your home via the condensate drain line. If the drain pan is damaged and leaking, or the condensate drain line is backed up, those components will need to be repaired, replaced, or cleaned to restore functionality.
It May Be Ice Melting
Your air conditioner is not a freezer, either, so any ice that is developing in the system simply shouldn’t be. If your air filter is very dirty, it can restrict airflow to the point that the coil gets cold enough to freeze condensate on it. Then, the ice can melt, and the condensate drain assembly may be overwhelmed.
It is also possible that you have a refrigerant leak, though. This is a much more serious problem, and demands a prompt, professional response. If you keep running your system even though it’s low on refrigerant, you can actually damage the compressor to the point that a full AC replacement is really your only option.