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Why Is Water Dripping From a Pipe Near the Outside AC Unit?

Window AC Unit LeakingDiagnosing Your Drain Line Made Easy

Wondering why your outdoor air conditioning units continually drip? Many homeowners may respond in alarmed to the sight, and it could be the sign of problems depending on what the liquid is.

What Is That Drip?

AC units involve complex physics, but there are only a few things you need to know. When gases like air are cooled, they lose the ability to hold liquids. The water contained in the gas drops out, or condenses. Instead of holding this liquid, your AC unit simply lets it escape through the pipe you’ve been pondering. If the liquid around your unit smells and looks like water, it is probably just a sign of normal operation.

Diagnosing Different Drips

Of course, the liquid dripping from your AC isn’t only water. It also contains whatever kinds of debris, dirt and dust made its way inside your unit. This commonly manifests as brown or blackish streaks and stains near the outlet.

In some cases, however, you’ll also observe greenish spots. These discolorations are usually a sign of algae, microscopic lifeforms that thrive in wet environments. Although many algae are harmless, the fact that enough moisture has built up in your system to allow their proliferation could also mean you have other creatures to worry about. If the water exiting the AC smells sour or musty, you may have a mold infestation that could lead to reduced air quality or health problems.

What About When There’s No Drip?

Dirty, stained or smelly condensate drips often indicate that your AC unit is overdue for a thorough cleaning. If you let things go unresolved for too long, however, the buildup can become so large that the condensate drip line becomes totally blocked. Then the water might back up so much that it impedes the regular operation of your system and prevents you from enjoying the cool air you crave. This could also lead to system failure, and you may need to replace your entire unit.

With some outdoor AC units, homeowners can perform simple maintenance to clean their drain lines. This may involve shutting down the AC system and thermostat from the breaker or flushing out the line using a hose. Other solutions recommend the use of wet/dry vacuums to suck or blow clogs out.

The type of maintenance you’ll need depends on how your system is set up, and it’s important to perform the correct cleaning techniques. If you’ve never tackled this chore before, you may find it difficult to accomplish correctly, and it’s likely to take some time. There’s also the danger that you might hurt yourself or damage your AC unit.

Most homeowners simply find it easier to have their AC units serviced by professionals. Experts complete successful drain-line cleanings quickly and efficiently. You can learn more about your options by contacting Dupuis Oil today.