Homeowners are sometimes surprised to discover that water is pouring out of the air conditioner unit in their home. It is not something they ever expected to encounter. Where did the water come from, and what can be done to prevent it? These are essential questions to answer.
How Air Conditioners Work
Air conditioning units work by pulling in warm, moist air over a coil of cold tubes. This coil is very cold because it contains a special refrigerant chemical. The moisture contained in the air then forms condensation on the coil. This water that condenses on the coil is called condensate, and it drips into a pan below the coil.
Every air conditioner works similarly, whether it is a central air conditioner or a unit that fits in a window – even your freezer, dehumidifier, or refrigerator will work in the same way.
So much moisture collects as condensate in central air conditioning systems that there is a large pan below the evaporator coil (also known as the A-coil because of its shape, or the indoor coil). Water constantly drips from the coil into the pan, and then it drains through a pipe and goes out of the house. Sometimes the water is pushed by a condensate pump which removes the water from the house through a tube
Fixing The Problem
When the air conditioner causes moisture to leak into your home, you will need to do these three things:
If a system is drained by gravity, make certain that the condensate flows out freely, since the drain line may be clogged with mold and slime, especially at the elbow bend.
If a system uses a condensate pump, the water can back up and overflow the pan if the pump has stopped working.
Check whether the condensate pan that is underneath the coil is rotting and filled with holes, creating a leakage of water into the home. In many cases, it is tricky to replace the pan, and it is not something the homeowner should attempt. It is always better to have an authorized HVAC Houston contractor to do the repair.
The condensate drain and also the pan can often grow mold and slime inside. This is especially true if the moisture includes a lot of pollen, dust, warm temperature, and an absence of light. The moisture in the pan drips constantly and slowly without creating enough pressure to flush the slime and dirt out of the pan.
The first step to take is to clean the plastic elbow near the condensate pan. This can be so clogged with slime and dirt that it may be necessary to cut it out and put in another one.
Installing A Window Air Conditioner
You should then clean out the condensate drain. To do this, get a shop vacuum and attach it to the condensate drain outside the home, place a cover on the vent of the drain, and then turn on the vacuum briefly for three or four seconds to remove wet or dry slime from the line. This is an important point. Remove the paper air filter from the shop vacuum when you do this.
It is fairly easy to keep the drain line open in most circumstances. You can kill the mildew that may be growing inside the drain by pouring in a solution of bleach and water into it. A home with a long condensate drain that is situated in a humid environment such as in the deep south, or near a lake or ocean, should have the condensate line flushed out every sixty to ninety days to keep it clear.
Bleach solutions are not likely to damage plastic drain lines, but the condensate pans may be made of metal, and can, therefore, be damaged by bleach solutions or chlorine tablets that are placed in the pan, leading to corrosion, leakage, and pitting of the metal. A copper drain line may also be adversely affected by using a bleach solution.