Did You Know Your Air Conditioner Can Flood Your House?

When people think about water damage, they often think of the bathroom or kitchen. But there are other places that can flood your home as much as a plumbing leak can. Your air conditioner pulls large amounts of water from the air every summer, and that water has to go somewhere.

Usually, that’s down drain pipes set up for the job. However, if those pipes can get clogged. If they do, that can mean a lot of water with nowhere to go except in your home. By the end of this post, you’ll know what kind of damage this can cause and what to look for before that happens.

breathe better air

Your AC Coils Sweat While They Work

Your air conditioner cools your home by removing heat from the air in your home. Air flows past a coil in the house that has refrigerant lines running through it to draw the heat into the coil. When that happens, any moisture in the air condenses around the coil and “sweats” off. That means it drips into a runoff pan built into the machine. From there it’s drained away from the home in a small pipe and allowed to run onto the ground.

That all works great while you’re using your air conditioner. But then it gets cold and you stop using it. When you do, it lets the water in that pipe dry out, leaving behind any minerals or gunk. Over a few years that can build up in layers until it blocks that narrow pipe.

Water Will Always Find a Way Down

Designers knew about the mineral buildup, so they made sure to have a spare pipe. Most homes have two drain lines exiting near your outside air conditioner unit. They stick out about two inches and one should be lower to the ground with the other up high. That higher one is your secondary drain line. When the lower line clogs, the condensation will drain from the one above.

Once that secondary line clogs, though, the water has nowhere else to go but inside your unit. If that happens, all sorts of problems can start coming up. That water can do some serious damage to your home over time. It can start by dripping on the internal electronics of your air conditioner so they short out. Then, any rooms underneath could get enough water damage that entire ceilings collapse. This is especially dangerous because many homes have their air conditioner coils stored on the roof or in the attic. Major condensation problems can lead to the tear-out and rebuilding of multiple rooms within a house, from drywall and carpet to expensive flooring.

How Clogs Get Fixed

To avoid that kind of home repair disaster, it’s a good idea to get any clogs fixed early. The easiest way to do that is to get your drain pipes flushed. That flush uses special solutions to wash out the slime that can cause this kind of backup. When water drains from the higher drain pipe this is a serious sign letting you know immediate action should be taken to flush or clear the drain line.

Plus, your air conditioner's annual maintenance should include a drain pipe flush. That can prevent clogs from ever forming. If you have an HVAC company inspecting and maintaining your AC, make sure to ask them if this is a service they offer.

For more information on air conditioner condensation, check out this episode of our "In The House" podcast. If you’re in the Arizona market and need an AC flush, Any Hour Services would be happy to help. You can give us a call or book an appointment online.

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Author: Nathanael Stuver
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Jul 5th 2023

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