3 Ways an Air Conditioner Can Cause Water Damage to Your Home

24 July 2020
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When an air conditioner has problems, it can stop cooling your house until it's fixed. However, air conditioning systems can also cause water damage to your home in certain circumstances. If certain parts are malfunctioning, if your drain system is blocked or broken, or if there is too much moisture in your ducts, this moisture can damage your home and bring health risks along with it. Here's what to look out for.

1. Condensate Drain System Problems

As your air conditioner cools the air, it also removes moisture from it before it passes back into your home. That moisture needs to go somewhere and is usually taken safely out of your house via a pan that catches dripping moisture and a drain connected to it. There are a few problems that can occur with your drain system that can create the risk of water damage in your home.

First, if the drain pan that's supposed to catch water dripping from your system is damaged, water can start to pool around your air conditioning unit rather than being directed outside. Second, if your drains are clogged or damaged, water may back up and overflow. Most drains have a secondary line just in case, so keep an eye out for dripping water from a pipe outside your house that's normally dry. Third, if you rely on a drain pump to remove water, and this pump fails, water from the unit could overflow. Routine maintenance can take care of cleaning drains and checking on vital equipment, but if your system has been backing up or leaking for some time, both your home and air conditioner itself may need repairs.

2. Evaporator Coil Issues

Your air conditioner's evaporator coil is part of your system directly responsible for cooling warm air. During the cooling process, warm air hits the evaporator coils and condenses, which turns into liquid that needs to be drained away. When functioning normally, this water is directed harmlessly outside and helps your air conditioner serve as a dehumidifier. However, if your condenser coils are directly or indirectly being affected by a parts failure or are left unmaintained for too long, they can contribute to water damage in your home.

One way this can happen is if your evaporator coils themselves are dirty. This can cause the coils to freeze up, and when the ice melts, it can flood the drain pan with more water than it can hold. Because your coils are typically installed inside your home, this excess water can start to cause damage if this happens repeatedly. This can also cause damage to your compressor. To fix this, your coils may just need to be cleaned, but call a technician for inspection just in case it needs further repairs, or to see if another part is causing the problem instead.

This can also happen if your air filter is very dirty. When the supply of air is blocked by a dirty filter, the lack of warm air coming in can cause the same problem with your coils. Luckily, fixing this issue simply involves replacing your filter.

3. Condensation in Your Ducts

A little moisture inside your ducts is normal, but if more condensation ever starts appearing, this can be an easy way for moisture to travel through your house and cause damage. With enough moisture in your ducts, you may notice it dripping from your vents when your air conditioner is running, but this can pose more hidden problems as well.

If the insides of your ducts are too damp, this can seep through to the outside of your ducts, which is usually covered with insulation. Damp insulation can become less efficient and also make it much more likely that mold will grow there; this in turn can affect your air quality and pose health risks. Ducts with gaps and holes can also spread moisture throughout your attic and walls. Any moisture in your ducts can drip onto wood, insulation, drywalling, or other materials from the inside, which can be difficult to spot until it needs serious repair.

To help avoid issues with your ducts, make sure they are inspected every three to five years. This is another problem that can be fixed by changing your air filter regularly as well. Learn more by contacting air conditioning repair services.