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Are the Water Drips from Your Shreveport Air Conditioning Unit Safe?

On April 1st, 2014

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Info Articles

Shreveport air conditioning repair services will not exactly tell you to collect drinking water out of the drips from A/C units. However, it's good to know that, as a general rule, those water drips from A/Cs are safe.

Air Conditioner

A dripping A/C unit isn't usually a cause for alarm, according to Forrest Wickman of Slate. He writes:

"Most of the dripping from air conditioners is just condensed water vapor that comes from the air inside the building. Window air conditioners are designed to drain this water from the back, raining it down on any unsuspecting pedestrians below. In most ways this water is exactly like rain (which also forms from condensed water vapor) or the moisture that collects on a cool can of soda, and it's typically no more harmful."

An air conditioner works by removing heat from a room, a good example of thermodynamics at work. The refrigerant in its liquid form absorbs the heat in a room, then travels in gas form along the A/C’s coil. The refrigerant then goes through the compressor and the condenser where it changes back to liquid form, and in the process, expels the heat it has absorbed. As it goes back to liquid, it lets go of its stored energy.

The water dripping from the A/C is the humidity taken out of the room. Water vapor in the air forms into droplets when they touch the cooler parts of the unit. A typical window unit can produce two gallons of water a day; a central system can produce ten times as much. Many units simply let the water drip in free fall, annoying innocent pedestrians that get in their paths.

While you can actually collect the drippings and use the water for various purposes, like irrigating your plants, experts advise against using them as potable water due to risks of contamination.

Not Always Normal

Just remember, the unit drips water from its rear. If it starts dripping somewhere else, it may signify an installation problem or faulty part.

Possible sites for unusual leakage include the condenser pump, drain hole, and the seals surrounding the unit. For instance, the drain hole may be blocked by debris, forcing the water to drip elsewhere. Clean the drain pan once a while to prevent water from pooling, which can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria.

If the drain hole isn't the issue, it's most likely one of the internal parts. Contact Shreveport, LA air conditioning repair services like AccuTemp Cooling and Heating for a thorough inspection. At this point, it's better to let the professionals handle the problem. Aimlessly fiddling with a complicated system like an A/C unit can worsen an existing condition.

(Source: How Gross Is the Water That Drips From Air Conditioners? Slate)

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