Most of the time, little attention is paid to the central air conditioning system in your home, as long as the unit is functioning as expected. However, a glance out the window to see a puddle of water around the outdoor compressor unit or indoors next to the evaporator unit might be alarming. Understanding why your AC is leaking water, when a leak is normal, and when it isn’t could save you time and the expense of scheduling unnecessary service.
Normal Condensation from Air Conditioning Systems
Depending on the weather, the setting on the thermostat and the amount of water around the air conditioning system, the situation could be normal. Do not be alarmed if there is a small amount of water indoors near the condensate drain pipe. This is a common effect of an air conditioner working very hard on a particularly hot or humid day. Monitor the situation. If the amount of water increases, the air conditioner may require repair.
You might notice a small puddle around the outdoor unit. This may simply be the result of the system’s normal recycling of water.
When Leaking Water Is a Problem
A lot of water or a problem that continues for more than a day is a cause for concern. Only a certified heating and cooling service technician can pinpoint the problem.
Some possible causes include:
- A dirty air filter. This causes restricted airflow to the evaporator’s coils. The coils can freeze, causing water to spill out of the condensate drain pan.
- A crack in the condensate drain pan that allows water to leak out of the air conditioner.
- An obstruction in the condensate drain pipe may force water to back up and out of the drain pan, getting all over the floor.
What to Do if You Discover Water Leaking from the AC
Try replacing the air filter and bleaching the condensate line. If neither of these activities fixes the leak, the problem may be elsewhere or more extensive, requiring the expertise of a professional. If there is a lot of water, immediate action is required to prevent a major problem.