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3 Potential Causes Of Moisture In And Around Your AC Unit

Have you recently noticed signs of moisture inside or around your air conditioner unit's outdoor condensing unit or indoor air handler? The signs of moisture can be signs of normal operation, weather conditions, or of a major problem that needs attention from an appliance repairs service. Determining the root of the problem involves examining the likely source of the moisture.

Here are three potential causes of moisture in and around your central air conditioning system.

Condensing Unit Moisture: Leaking Refrigerant

Water inside or around the outdoor condensing unit is often simply leftover moisture from rain so, if you recently had rainy weather, there's your culprit. But if you've had dry weather and still notice moisture in and around the condensing unit, you could have a refrigerant leak within the system.

Refrigerant is the chemical that moves through the air conditioning system, changing phases as it goes, and it creates the temperature changes needed to cool your air. The refrigerant changes from a gas to a liquid in the condenser coils in the condensing unit, so a break in the coils can cause refrigerant to leak down into the condensing unit.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak, call in an appliance repair technician as soon as possible. Low levels of refrigerant can cause your system to inefficiently cool and can eventually start to cause structural damage.

Air Handler Moisture: Leaking Drain Pan or Condensate Pump

Liquid refrigerant leaves the condensing unit through lines that run into your house and the air handler inside. The refrigerant goes into evaporator coils, which change the chemical back into a gas in a process that makes the coils cold on the surface. Air passes over these coils to get cooled, then is blown out your vents.

The coil cooling naturally produces a degree of condensate, which drips down into the bottom of the unit into a drain pan. The drain pan empties into a drain pipe either due to gravity or the presence of a motorized condensate pump.

Moisture around the air handler can come from the drain pan overflowing due to a blockage in the pipe or the condensate pump failing to work properly. Call in an HVAC tech to diagnose the problem and to replace the pump, if necessary.

Air Handler Moisture: Frozen Evaporator Coils

Does your drain pan seem to empty properly but you still have leaking water around your air handler? Check to make sure the evaporator coils aren't freezing up during the unit's operation. This freeze up can cause excess levels of moisture that the drain pan can't accommodate and will also cause your unit to become less efficient to the point of not blowing cold air at all.

Frozen evaporator coils are usually due to low levels of refrigerant. Call your HVAC tech to check the refrigerant to see if it needs refilling.