Air Conditioner Leaks Water

Air conditioners and high-efficiency combustion furnaces create significant condensation, which exits through a rubber or plastic drain tube and is delivered either to a floor drain or to a small electric “condensate pump” that pumps it outdoors or to a drain.

If your air conditioner leaks water or water is pooling at the base of the appliance, condensation may be leaking from one of the tubes that carry it, something may be blocking the water’s flow, or the condensate pump may not be working—if it stops working, it will overflow.

1. Make sure the condensate pump is connected to a working electrical outlet. Then look to see if one of the tubes is leaking. If it is, replace it with tubing purchased at an air condtioner supply shop or a well-stocked home improvement center.

2. Make sure the electric condensate pump is plugged into a working receptacle, and test the pump by pouring water into its collector. The pump, which is turned on by a ball float inside that rises with the water level, should start. If it doesn’t, it is stuck or broken. If it’s stuck, you should be able to disconnect it from the power and from the inbound tube, disassemble the top, and clean it out thoroughly. If it’s quite old or broken, you’re probably better off replacing it so you don’t have to do this again in the near future.

3. If the pump runs but doesn’t empty the pan, the ball-like check valve just before the discharge tube is probably stuck. Unscrew the check valve, loosen the ball inside, and look for an obstruction. If it appears that a condensation drain tube is clogged with algae, remove it if possible (you may have to cut it and replace it later with a coupling). Blow it out or run a wire through it to clear it—or, better still, replace the entire tube. To kill the algae, pour a dilute solution of bleach (1 part bleach to 16 parts water) into the pump’s trough and pump it out through the tube.

4. Ice may be blocking the tube. If this is the case, clean or change your air conditioner filters. If the filters appear to be fine, the air conditioner’s refrigerant supply is probably low. Call an air conditioner technician to have the unit recharged. – Don Vandervort, HomeTips

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