I am always glad to help out my readers when they have questions about air conditioning. Air conditioners are a part of everyday life (at least in summer), but people who aren’t HVAC experts often don’t know much about how they run.
And that’s fine! Most people drive cars but don’t know how combustion engines work or anything like that. You can say the same thing about pets: you might have a dog, but you won’t be an expert on veterinary medicine. That’s why you take your dog to a good vet! Believe me, we dogs appreciate having good vets, even if we kind of shiver and shake when we wait in the vet’s office.
Anyway, today I’m going to answer a question I often get about how air conditioning systems run: “Why do I hear water dripping in my AC?” People want to know if this is normal, why there’s water in the AC at all, and where that water goes. Let’s get into it!
Water dripping in the AC is condensate moisture
A quick reminder on how your air conditioner cools down the air: cold refrigerant runs through the indoor evaporator coil, and as the warm air from the blower moves across the coil, the refrigerant evaporates and draws heat from the air. However, the evaporation has a side effect—it also causes moisture in the air to condense along the coil. This is similar to when you take a cold drink from the refrigerator and see moisture beads on its surface.
When enough moisture accumulates along the evaporator coil, it drips off. That’s what makes the sound of water dripping in your AC. It’s a normal part of cooling! You can’t get heat from the air without drawing some water moisture along with it.
Where the dripping water goes
You hear water dripping but you don’t see water spilling out of the AC. That’s how it’s supposed to be. An air conditioner that was dripping water all over the floor of your house would be a problem!
But where does the water go? It falls into a shallow pan (the condensate pan) that’s located underneath the evaporator coil. The pan has a drain attached to it, and a special pump then removes the collected water and transports it through a plastic line to outside your house, where it drips harmlessly onto the ground. This condensate system not only removes the water, but it also helps prevent the AC from getting moldy inside from too much moisture.
What if something goes wrong and water does drip out?
It can happen! In fact, fixing problems with the condensate pan, drain, and pump are common repairs for air conditioning in Farragut, TN. If you notice water pooling around the AC cabinet, something has gone wrong that will likely need our pros to fix.
There are several possibilities: the drain or condensate line is clogged, the pan has cracked, the condensate pump has stopped working, or the AC has an imbalance somewhere that is causing excessive moisture to build up. No matter the trouble, you can trust that we’ll find what’s wrong and fix it.
Stay cool (and dry),
Russell & Abbott serves Maryville, Knoxville, and surrounding areas. Whistle and we’ll come running!