Modern heating and cooling systems are efficient at keeping temperatures comfortable inside without much maintenance on your part. Problems can still arise, however, and it is important to tackle the problems quickly to avoid larger headaches in the future. One of the more alarming yet common problems is seeing water coming out of your unit.
There are a few different causes of leaking water depending on the type of heating or cooling unit involved. Here are a few tips for the common types. Always contact an HVAC professional for assistance if you feel uncomfortable with a repair task.
Window AC: Tilt it Back
All air conditioners produce condensate during the cooling process and that condensate always needs a way out of the unit. For window air conditioners, the condensate leaves the unit via gravity. The unit is installed so that the rear of the air conditioner, which hangs out of you rwindow, is positioned at a slight downward slant so that water can naturally run out of the back.
If water is leaking out of your window air conditioner and into your home, the unit likely wasn't installed at the correct angle. Consult the owner's manual for your specific unit for guidance on what angle is required to sufficiently drain the condensate. Or you can call in an air conditioning installation company to reinstall your unit in the correct position.
Portable AC: Check the Drain Valve
Portable air conditioners are compact units that are easy to use in rooms with windows too small for a proper window unit. The small size and portability of these units can make it easy to forget that the units still operate similarly to a full-sized unit and require some maintenance. For a portable unit, this maintenance includes removing the condensate yourself as the unit has no automatic drainage method.
If your portable unit is leaking, you might simply need to empty the overflowing condensate. Open the drain valve on the back of the unit, tip the unit over a bathtub or bucket, and allow all of the condensate to run out. Note that if the unit wasn't overflowing but was leaking, you might have a broken drain valve and will likely need to contact the manufacturer for a new part.
Furnace / Air Handler: Check the Drain or Condensate Pump
A central air conditioner has an outdoor condensing unit and an indoor air handler that is usually located in your furnace. The air handler contains evaporator coils that turn cold when refrigerant liquid is converted to gas. The cooled coils will then drip condensate into the bottom of the unit. There are two different ways that condensate can clear the unit.
If your unit has a drain pipe connected straight to the bottom of the handler, then it is a gravity system and any leaking is due to a clogged drain. Otherwise, you have a condensate pump that mechanically forces the water out and into a neighboring drain pipe. If the water is directly under your air handler, the condensate pump is likely broken. If the water is near the pipe, the problem is likely a drain clog. Call a plumber for the drain clogs and an HVAC technician (such as one from Reardon Refrigeration) for the condensate pump repairs.