Are you stumped by the puddle of water near your air handler? Although there aren’t water lines to the unit, you may be surprised to discover that water drainage is an important aspect of system operation. Air conditioning leaks can occur when a problem with the drainage system arises, but you may wonder how the water gets there in the first place. Understanding your air conditioner’s dehumidification function will provide insight and assist if you need to do some related AC troubleshooting.

AC and Dehumidification

The refrigerant in your air conditioner is icy as it moves through the evaporator coils. An energy exchange process occurs as your indoor air transfers its heat to that cool refrigerant. The cool air that results is moved through the house to address your home comfort needs. Meanwhile, the refrigerant moves through the system to release its absorbed heat at the outside condenser unit. As moisture in the indoor air cools, it changes from a gaseous form to liquid, collecting on the icy coils and dripping into a drain pan below. The process is much like that observed when a glass of ice water collects moisture on a hot day.

Reasons for Air Conditioning Leaks

There are three primary causes for a fluid overflow from your drain pan. These include:

  • Excess fluid – in some cases, your system can collect more liquid than the drainage system can handle. If your AC has recently frozen, the defrosted ice from the coils could overfill the pan, resulting in an overflow. If the freezing issue recurs, you will need professional assistance to diagnose the problem with your equipment.
  • Malfunctioning condensate pump – if your condensate pump isn’t working correctly, water may collect to the point of overflowing. You will need to have the equipment inspected and repaired or replaced.
  • Drain blockages – although your filter keeps many particulates from entering the air handler, some material still collects in and on air handler parts like the drain pan. Additionally, liquid condensate can carry more material from the coils into the pan and lines. This may result in blockages if the unit is not cleaned.

Have Your System Cleaned and Inspected Annually

One of the best ways to avoid blockages in your drainage system is to schedule preventive AC maintenance each spring with Ray’s HVAC. Our team is also available for unexpected repairs in your Schaumburg IL home at your convenience. Call us for an appointment or for more information.

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