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Air Conditioners and Water Dripping: What You Need to Know

Written by Alex under Air Conditioners, General | No Comments ""

Whilst all air conditioners will drip water occasionally, it is important to note the areas from which water should not drip from an air conditioning unit, and/or what accounts as too high a volume of droplets to ensure that you can spot when your system is not working correctly.

Here is what you need to know…

Why do air conditioners drip?

Many people naively think that air conditions are akin to fans and simply cool the surrounding air but as the name suggests, such units also conditionthe air, removing water to reduce humidity levels within a room. The cooling coil or evaporator absorbs the moisture in said room and then the airborne water is collected in liquid form but some settles on the cold surfaces within the unit.

Picturing a glass of icy Coke can make it easier to understand condensation collection in (and dripping from) air conditioners

Image: jeff_golden, FlickR

Picture this…

Picture an icy cold drink poured into a glass, with condensation on the outside of it and you’ll find the process easier to comprehend.

How much water should my air conditioning unit drip?

It is hard to give a specific answer to this question because it does vary between different models and this is also dependant on the humidity levels and temperature of the environment in which it is placed. As a guide though, a hot summer’s day will see a window air conditioning unit drip around 2 gallons of water it has collected from its surrounding atmosphere, whilst a central conditioning system can collect up to 20 gallons on such a day.

Please note: Whilst many people will choose to reuse and/or divert this collected water for the purposes of landscape irrigation, you should not drink this water for this could cause lead exposure and other contaminants.

Where should my air conditioner drip from?

Condensed water should always leak from the back of an air conditioning unit whenever it is in operation. This is because water drips from the cooling coil into channels that should be angled towards the back of the unit. If water is dripping from elsewhere then you most likely have some sort of problem with your unit.

Help! Water is dripping from the front of my unit!

This is probably a result of incorrect installation – the back of the unit should be positioned slightly lower in order to aid proper drainage of the collected water.

Help! Water is dripping from either side of my unit!

This problem could be caused by air leaks within the unit. If your air conditioner is not properly sealed this could see the surrounding, non-conditioned hot air turning into condensation droplets the second it comes into contact with the cooling parts of the system.

Insulating your unit can help with this problem and can also help boost efficiency and reduce energy bills.

Does your air conditioner drip?Help! My air conditioner is not dripping at all!

If your system does not drip at all, there is a high chance that it is failing to do its job of conditioning the surrounding air. It is possible that the internal drains are blocked. Calling someone out to service your unit is the best call of action in this instance.

Help! Why is there ice in my air conditioning unit?

This means that your device is malfunctioning and you should call someone to service it immediately.


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