Window AC unit dripping water into house

ilovegardeningAugust 1, 2008

Should I be concerned about this? The window unit in my bedroom started dripping water inside last night. It's a 2-year-old GE unit and has never done this before. It had been running continuously all day, with the AC only shutting off a couple times each hour (I like it COLD!) for a few minutes.

Until moving back to California 2 years ago, I was used to having central heat and air, so window units are pretty new to me. I know they can and do drip condensation OUTSIDE, but I've never heard of them pouring water INSIDE the house. It wasn't a drop here and there, it was a steady downpour! What should I do?

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Have you checked the filter? It could be dirty.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 3:05PM
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Thank you, Ryan. Yes, I cleaned the filter a few days ago--about 3 or 4 days BEFORE the dripping started.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 4:18PM
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I'm not sure without seeing it, but is there any way you can access the unit to see the drainage system/drip pan and see if it's clogged?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 4:22PM
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Hmmmm...I'm not sure, but I'll take a look and see if I can access the drip pan...

Meanwhile, I turned the unit on again a little while ago, and so far so good--no dripping...yet.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 5:06PM
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A dirty filter on a window unit would have nothing to do with leaking water inside.

Leaking can happen if the drain that leads from the inside evaporator pan to the rear of the unit is clogged. Condensate will build up inside and run over, having nowhere else to go. I've seen a few cases in which the indoor fan picked up water in the pan and blew it into the room.

Window units by design of the mounting frame have a slight tilt to the outside so gravity can drain the condensate to the rear. I've seen some installed incorrectly such that they tilt IN instead of out.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 7:01PM
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A clogged line (if it even has a line) or an incorrectly pitched unit will allow the condensate to run towards the inside instead of draining correctly.
Window units are normally slightly pithed to the outside for drainage.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 8:31PM
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Didn't know dirty filters wouldn't have similar effects on window units. I was thinking about split systems, which I'm more familiar with.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 9:15PM
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I'm starting to think the unit is not tilted slightly towards outside, as it should be. See, here's what happened: This unit was originally in a different room, for almost two years (since it was brand new), then just a few weeks ago I had it moved to my bedroom. I had a carpenter come build a frame in the window the unit was to go in, as the window is 48" wide and it was impossible to make the unit fit such a wide opening. So he built a frame and then installed the AC unit in its case, in the frame.

Now, all of a sudden, the dripping started [last night], so even though the unit is 2 years old and was used a lot in its prior location, it's in a new location now and I think the problem is that it's no longer slanted as it should be.

I've been running it intermittently today--making sure it has some "downtime" when only the fan, not the AC, is running--and it's not dripping. If the drip pan became too full last night [as a result of the unit running nonstop!, and not being tilted properly], is it possible that--without having emptied it--the water just evaporated today? That's what SEEMS to have happened. FWIW, I'm in Southern California...and it's very dry here!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 9:35PM
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It most defiantly could have evaporated, especially if it is very hot and dry. I am guessing it needs to be tilted out more which would be a easy fix, give the carpenter a call and I am sure it could be taken care of in a mater of minutes.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 11:21PM
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Your not far off and it was one of many possibilities.
A plugged indoor coil or filter causing limited airflow, the coil can ice, the compressor shuts off on limit, the pan is blocked due to the ice and the water runs down the front.

It can happen

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 10:58AM
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I appear to have accumulated water in my window unit - I can hear a fan blade "lapping" in the water. I looked at the back side and I can see water at the back edge of the frame all across the back. The unit is tilted adequately.

I see NO DRAIN HOLE - ??

Where is the water supposed to drain?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 11:35AM
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wally, your unit most likely has a slinger on the blade that picks up the water and throws it on the condensor coil. My mom has one that is designed like that. Install manual says do not remove the drain plug.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 11:43AM
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The water usually drains outside. Its probably an easy fix just take the unit out and hose it out good to clear out the drain holes. The condensate water is to deep and your fan baldes are hitting it and slinging it inside.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 12:03PM
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Tinman may be right, not knowing which unit you have

Some hold water and use it to cool the condenser coil.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 12:29PM
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Thanks -

Again - I see NO DRAIN HOLES Whatsoever. The "lapping" is not so much a sound that I necessarily associate as a problem - it might very well be as you say, by design. The noise is not really a lapping, but almost an ocean tide - not slapping, just moving.

Thanks again.

- Wally

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 10:15PM
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Yea, just last night I had to hunt for towels to soak up all the water that had poured down from our Sharp and I just turned it off and let a fan blow on the carpet all night.

The thing is I thought i could just run it dry for a few hours, but hey after I got brave and put the thing on cool at about 74 degrees and a few hours later it suddenly started it's BS dripping!

I only had this a few years and it never did it until it ran last night and dripped when the temperature was set to 70 degrees and the outside temp went down to 68 degrees and humidity was 37 percent or more.

What to do? take a coat hanger wire to it and try to dig out the sludge or take it out the window completely and run a high pressure hose to it then let it dry out and test it while still out doors? or just buy a new window unit and trash this one?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 12:08AM
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Put a level on it and make sure it is tilted towards the outside.

The only time I have seen them tipped badly was when a unit was placed i a window with triple track storms.
The lower edge of the permanent storm frame tipped the unit in.
A piece of 1x lumber on the sill to raise the unit restored the normal tilt outwards.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 9:21PM
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similar problem. unit has drain hole but there are several areas that hold water. Unit is propoerly tilted but to no avail. Lapped water is being thrown out the vents into the room. This unit is only 1 year old

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 9:54PM
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