You should never ignore fluid dripping from your air conditioner; it’s never a good sign for the system. However, there are a couple of different things that a leak could mean. It’s possible that you have a leak in your refrigerant line, which will drain your air conditioner of the fluid it needs to operate. It’s also possible that your system is leaking condensate. Let’s take a look at why your system generates condensate, and what to do about condensate leaks.
The Cooling Process
Your air conditioner generates condensate as part of the cooling process. During operation, the air conditioner evaporates refrigerant in a coil called the evaporator coil. Evaporating refrigerant siphons thermal energy out of the air, causing the temperature around the evaporator coil to drop. Condensation forms on the evaporator coil as the temperature drops below the dew point. The condensate then drains out of the system using a drain pipe.
Consequences of Condensate Drain Leaks
A condensate leak is, admittedly, not as bad as a refrigerant leak. A refrigerant leak can cause a full system breakdown, while a condensate leak probably will not. However, condensate leaks should still not be ignored. There are two possible issues that can be caused by a condensate leak, depending on where the leak is located. The first issue is rust, which can happen pretty much anywhere the condensate leak is. Obviously, you don’t want water dripping on the metal areas of your air conditioner for long periods of time. The second issue is electrical problems. This is far rarer, but if the condensate ends up leaking water into an electrical area of the system it could cause a short. So, make sure to call for repairs if you notice fluid dripping from your air conditioner.
Saddleback Plumbing offers a full range of air conditioner repair services throughout Laguna Niguel, CA.