Why is my Air Conditioning Dripping Water?

Central air conditioning systems always create some water while they operate. So depending on where the water is dripping, you might have a problem. Since water is a very destructive force in a home, if it is dripping in the wrong place, you’ll want to schedule repairs right away.

Normal Water Dripping

Every air conditioner creates condensation as it operates. This is absolutely normal. Your central air system is set up to remove this condensation from the evaporator coils of the indoor unit. Here in the Carolinas, it is pretty common to have your indoor unit located in the attic of your home. You’ll notice that the system is sitting on or above a a metal pan. There should also be some white pvc pipe running from that drip pan out the side of your home or through the floor.

The most common configuration is to have the main condensation drain come out the lower level on the side or back of your home, usually very close to where the outdoor ac unit is located. Other homes may be set up to have the water drain into the laundry drain. Water dripping from this drain is normal operation and nothing to be concerned about.

Condensation Drain Blockage

A second drain is generally located above a window, or at least on the side of the house at attic level. This is the emergency drain if the main condensation drain gets clogged up. When that happens, water will start to pool in the pan below the ac unit until it runs out this secondary drain. You can tell that something is wrong with your system if there is water dripping from this secondary drain.

Most of the time, the primary condensate drain has gotten stopped up for some reason. Typically, the blockage is just a build up of mold, mildew, etc. A little preventive maintenance can keep this from becoming a problem. Cleaning the main condensate drain will stop this extra water from dripping.

Condensate Pan Leak

If you have water dripping from your air conditioner through your attic, this is most likely a hole or an overflow of the condensate pan. Newer systems will have a kill switch in the pan that will stop the system from running and prevent extensive water damage. However, if you have a hole in the pan (generally it would have had to be damaged by someone working in your attic unless it is very old), then this switch would never get triggered and you could have water leaking into your house.

Clogged Air Filter Creating Ice

A very dirty air filter can cause the air conditioner to operate at the wrong pressure, leading to over cooling. This can cause ice to form on the indoor unit. When the ice melts it creates dripping water. Since clogged air filters can cause many AC problems, it is always a good idea to check them when you are experiencing an issue.

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