Did you know that your air conditioner doesn’t just keep your house cool? It also removes moisture from the air. When you see water in your drip pan, it could mean your air conditioner is doing its job. However, too much water can be a sign of a problem that you need to investigate.
When your air conditioner runs, it pulls humidity out of the air. As the air passes over your cooling coils, the cooling causes water to condense out of the air onto the cooling coils. The water then drips down into your drip pan. Your drip pan may drain by evaporation, or it could lead to a pipe that takes the water into your home’s sewer system.
How much water you see mainly depends on how humid it is. On drier days, you may see no water at all as there is little moisture for your air conditioner to pull out of the air. On very humid days, you may see a constant flow of water as your air conditioner deals with the excess moisture. Cooking or taking showers without using the exhaust fan can also add humidity and more water into your drip pan. If you had your windows open on a humid day, you may also notice more water in your drip pan than usual.
If your drip pan is overflowing or there is much more water than you expect, the most common cause is a blocked drain. Dirt and dust can fall out of your air conditioner or the surrounding air and into your drip pan. The grime can then flow into and clog up your drainpipe. If you remove and clean the drainpipe, your drip pan water levels should return to normal.
Excess water in your drip pan with a clear drainpipe can be a sign of a malfunctioning air conditioner. One possible cause is your blower fan not blowing fast enough so that the airflow doesn’t help to evaporate the water from your drip fan. Another possible cause is your cooling coils being too cold. This is not a good thing as it could mean a refrigerant problem, unbalanced cooling, or inefficient operation.
If you notice excess water in your drip pan that isn’t coming from a blocked drain, you should schedule an air conditioning inspection as soon as possible. Even if your air conditioner seems like it’s working fine, you don’t want to wait until there’s a bigger problem that will cost you more to fix. You could also be using more electricity without realizing it. To make sure everything is working properly and you’re not wasting money, let an HVAC professional look at it.