When you open up a cabinet under your kitchen or bathroom sink and you find a puddle of water under there, you probably aren’t going to be all that shocked. Annoyed, sure, but not shocked. After all, your sink drains through the pipe under there, and a leak is not necessarily that surprising. What about if you walk past your indoor air conditioning unit and find that there is a pool of water surrounding it, though? That’s odd, isn’t it?
Well, it may be a bit odd, but it actually is not all that uncommon. It is also not necessarily indicative of a very serious problem with your air conditioner—though, as is always the case with air conditioning issues, it could be a serious problem. All of this does beg the question of where this water is actually coming from, of course. As you may know, your air conditioner does not use water in its operation. It doesn’t store water in a reservoir. It doesn’t have a water supply line. So let’s examine this issue closer.
Okay, So Where Does the Water Come From?
The most likely source of this water is condensation from your air conditioning system. More specifically, the condensation that results from the cooling of the air in your home. You see, while it does not function as an effective dehumidifier—you’ll need a whole-house dehumidifier for that—an air conditioning system does draw some moisture out of the air as it operates. That moisture has to be removed, and that is where the trouble can start.
Your air conditioner evaporates refrigerant in the evaporator coil, which is located in your indoor air conditioning unit. As the refrigerant in that coil evaporates, it draws heat out of the air passing over that coil. As this happens, some moisture is pulled out of that air, and that moisture condensates on the evaporator coil.
This moisture has to go somewhere, and that is where the condensate drain line and condensate drain pan come into play. That condensation drips off the coil, and it collects in the condensate drain pan. Then, it travels out through the condensate drain line—provided that everything is working properly.
The condensate drain pan could be misaligned, and it may fail to collect the condensation that is dripping into it reliably. It is also possible that the drain pan is rusted through, resulting in water leaks. However, the problem could also develop in the drain line.
Leaks may be the source of the problem, but backups are also possible. If your condensate drain line is clogged due to dirt and grime, foreign objects, or algae, then it may need to be cleaned out with a cleaning solution and/or vacuumed to restore full functionality. We handle all things HVAC in Naperville, IL, and we can make sure that these components are in prime working condition for you.
Just keep in mind that your evaporator coil may also be icing up, and melting ice could be the source of the water. This could be the result of a very dirty filter that is restricting airflow, or it could even mean that you have a refrigerant leak. That poses a serious threat to your system, so you need to rule it out/have the leak fixed ASAP.