OK, so you come home and there is water coming from the ceiling or the closet and you know there’s no plumbing in those areas but there is an air conditioner air handler in the ceiling or closet. So what do you do and how do you prevent it from happening again?
Turn your A/C system off at the thermostat but leave the fan set to on. The reason for this is that while the unit was running and cooling the system is taking a lot of moisture out of the air (we are in Florida hot and humid). The evaporator has a lot of water in it when it is cooling and if you shut off the air handler all that water drains off the evaporator coil and causes more water damage because the reason we have a water leak is that there is a drainage problem.
So lets think and find out what the problem may be. For the Mr. fix-it person who could be a woman as well as a man these days, you would think easy fix, the drain is plugged and if we can blow it out and discharge the blockage, problem solved. Some times, maybe 20% of the time there is another problem causing the water leak but first lets take the easiest solutions.
Go outside and find out where your condensate line is coming out from your house. Make sure nothing is blocking the outlet and if you can take a piece of wire or some flexible item and fish it through the p-trap that is normally at the end of the drain line. If water starts coming out, you have fixed the problem. Now lets do a little preventive maintenance at this time. Take a rag and rap it around you garden hose end and the end of the drain line. Have someone quickly turn on the water hose and shut it off immediately or you are going to have a flood in your house. The reason you do this is to wash as much slim as possible out of the drain line. Another thing you might think of doing at this time is to extend the drain line out about 12″ from the house. The reason for this is that they have found that if you have water standing at the base of your house it may draw termites to your house. This way the water disperses and dries out. If you made it this far, good job!
Now if your air handler is in the closet and you can get to it, look to see if there is a cap on a pipe at the drain line leaving the air handler. Remove the cap and pour a bleach solution down the opening. This kills that slime I was talking about. Most units do not have this port installed at the air handler. You must put the cap back on. This procedure should be done once a year if not twice a year here in Florida.
If your air handler is in the attic you need to get up there to do the same thing. For the more advanced Mr. fix-it person, turn the unit off at the disconnect, open the side panel and remove. Take flashlight, look in drain pan to see if there is blockage or slime in the drain pan. If so, clean it out and then pour a bleach solution in the drain pan and watch it drain out. Put the side panel back on, turn on the disconnect switch. Go to thermostat and set for proper setting.