Summer is here and many sources say we will be on trend for record high temperatures. That means most people will be using their air conditioners even more this coming summer. However, air conditioners can be a source of a hidden danger to your home. Air conditioner units, both window and central, produce very large amounts of condensation. Generally a common air conditioning unit can product 5-20 gallons of water per day depending on the temperature and humidity. When operating properly, this water is harmlessly drained away in central units or will drain out of window units.
However, if a clog in the drain occurs or if a window unit is not installed at the correct pitch, water can back up and cause serious damage.
In central units the drain usually leads to a sump pit or pump that pumps the excessive water from the unit outside the home. But if the drain clogs or becomes obstructed, water will back up into the air conditioning unit and can lead to mold growth and water damage of your AC unit. Mold growth, algae, even bugs can clog drain lines. This may go unnoticed for some time, especially if your unit is still cooling the air. AC units run in the thousands, and if your unit is installed on a living floor, the water can cause damage to the floor and rooms beneath.
Window units that are not installed at the correct pitch, or that have become clogged with leaves or other debris, can cause water to back up into the window sill. This would rot out the sill of a wooden frame and then allow water to run down the interior of the wall. This would likely go unnoticed, and after an entire summer of producing 5-20 gallons a day!, the damage could be quite extensive and costly. The homeowner may only realize the damage after it is too late.
This is why it is important to make sure your units are properly serviced to be sure all drains and hoses are clear and free of obstruction. It is also a good idea to periodically check and see if there is water dripping from the drain lines of a central unit or the drain hole of a window unit. When the unit is running, there should be a slow drip to a steady stream of water coming out. If you do not see this, have your unit looked at right away.
With a little routine maintenance you can avoid a costly repair or a insurance claim.