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Help! My Air Conditioner is Leaking Water

Water collection is a natural part of the air conditioning cycle, and if your unit's doing its job right, it should stay within your system. So when there's water pooling on the floor, that's your signal to take a closer look at what's going on inside your air conditioner.

Reasons Why Your Air Conditioner Is Leaking Water

While the leak from your AC unit might not seem like a big problem, it's never a good sign. The water pooling on your floor can do damage to both your home and your HVAC system.

Potential Issues

  • moisture on cold surfaces
  • indoor allergens
  • air is humid
  • air smells strange
  • puddle around the indoor air conditioning unit
  • furniture is warped

Warm, humid air coming in contact with cooler pipes and toilets causes the water in the air to form into water droplets, called condensation. The higher the humidity level, the higher the temperature needed to create condensation (known as the dew point). This means that as your humidity levels increase, cold surfaces that wouldn't typically gather condensation will suddenly start to sweat. Over time, high condensation in your home can damage the surfaces around your toilets and pipes. If your humidity level is over 55%, it can even create a cozy environment for mold and mildew to grow. Frequently wiping away the condensation will help in the short term, but you'll want to find a way to lower the humidity to prevent long-term damage.

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  • puddle around the indoor air conditioning unit

Your AC system cycles a substance called refrigerant to cool the air in your home. During this cooling process, water is evaporated and condensation forms. The water runoff that occurs during that process is collected in and drained from what are called the AC drain lines. Over time, buildup can clog and restrict the lines, causing water to backup, fill up the drain pan, or pool on your floor.

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  • furnace is blowing cold air
  • puddle around the indoor air conditioning unit
  • high electricity bills
  • pockets of cold air

A duct system consists of a series of tubes in the walls, floors, and ceilings that run through your home. Sealing and insulating ductwork prevents leaks and keeps the air warm or cool (depending on season) while it makes the journey to your vents. This means your HVAC system doesn't have to work overtime to keep up with the thermostat, which is better for the planet and your wallet. Since air follows the path of least resistance, it's also important to make sure no ducts are squeezed or damaged. Any of these situations can cause high energy bills and an uncomfortable home!

  • puddle around the indoor air conditioning unit
  • air is humid
  • moisture on cold surfaces
  • not reaching temperature set on thermostat
  • blower sounds strange
  • AC keeps turning on and off
  • air smells strange
  • air is too hot
  • furniture is warped

Your AC unit works to cool the air in your home by way of its evaporator coils. The coils allow the cooling chemicals (needed to cool your air) to evaporate from liquid to gas and absorb the heat in your air, which is how your air gets cooled. Because this part is exposed to such cold temperatures, it is vulnerable to freezing. The coil will freeze if the system is low on refrigerant or has an airflow issue, as a result of a dirty coil, filter, fan wheel, or heat exchanger. If this occurs, and is not caught in time, the issue can escalate further and the larger refrigerant line may freeze. If this is the case, you will see ice on the suction line leading from the inside unit to the outdoor unit.

  • indoor allergens
  • puddle around the indoor air conditioning unit
  • high electricity bills
  • whistling noise from the ductwork
  • pockets of cold air

A well-designed AC system should provide a consistent temperature between rooms. Each room in your home has specific airflow needs that are calculated in CFM (cubic feet per minute). If your air ducts are leaking, each room is not getting the proper CFM of airflow. Cool air will escape through the leak, which means that your AC will need to run longer, raising energy bills to meet the demands of each room.

  • puddle around the indoor air conditioning unit
  • air conditioner won’t turn on

When your HVAC system is running, condensation builds up inside. The condensate pump works to remove the condensation from the unit and pump it through the discharge line where it can be safely drained. If water is collecting around the blower unit on the floor, that's a strong sign that there's an issue with your condensate pump. If the pump stops working properly, the secondary float switch in the pump will keep your A/C from turning on at all. Keeping up with your annual HVAC maintenance will help to avoid pump failure and keep you cool all summer long.

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