When you have a glass of cold water on a hot day, condensation forms outside of the glass as the water comes into contact with the warm outside air. Similarly, the evaporator coil of your air conditioning system collects condensation that needs somewhere to go as it forms. This is where the condensate pan comes in, an important component of the air conditioning and dehumidifying process.
Your split system air conditioner has two major components, the indoor evaporator unit and the outdoor condenser unit. As refrigerant cycles throughout your home, heat is absorbed at the evaporator coil and released at the condenser coil. Cool air is supplied to your home as a fan blows warm air over the cool evaporator coil. But this process not only cools your home; it also removes some humidity from the air to keep you comfortable. If there is moisture in the air, it collects on the evaporator as condensation when warm air blows over the cool coil.
Of course, this moisture needs somewhere to go. Condensation must drain quickly so that it does not overflow or back up into your system. First, it flows into the condensate pan, a shallow tray that collects water before it moves to the condensate drain line. The water then drains either outdoors or directly into a drain pipe.
One common air conditioning problem often caused by the condensate pan is water leaks. If your air conditioner is leaking it is most likely due to the condensate pan or drain. There may be cracks or tears in the pan, which would then need replacement. Alternatively, the drain line may clog, which means water backs up into your AC or overflows into your home. An AC technician can repair these leaks and check for other damages to your system.
Air conditioning repair and maintenance technicians are the best people to call when you run into leaks or other problems with your air conditioner. Call Johns Refrigeration for more information or to schedule air conditioning service in Mesa.