The area around the AC air handler should always be dry. If water is dripping from the AC or if there is a puddle of water near the air handler, the problem should be fixed right away or the water could damage the AC or cause the AC to shut itself off. Here are three possible causes of a wet air handler.
1. Humidity Is High In The Space
If the air handler looks sweaty and it's in the crawlspace, attic, or basement, the problem could be condensation due to hot and humid summer air coming into contact with the cooler metal of the air conditioner. You can probably fix this problem yourself since AC repairs may not be needed. Instead, it might require lowering the humidity in the space or adding insulation that prevents condensation.
For instance, you might set up a dehumidifier in the basement to help keep the air drier. To cut down on condensation further, you may need to add insulation to the basement walls and wrap metal pipes in insulation so there is less condensation that contributes to humidity.
2. The Condensation Pan Is Leaking
Condensation is normal in an air handler, so you won't eliminate it entirely. An air handler is designed to deal with internal condensation by catching the water in a condensation pan. If the pan develops a crack or hole, water can leak on the floor.
Also, if the drain line that empties the pan is clogged, water will back up and spill on the floor. An air conditioning service can replace the pan if it's damaged and they can also clear out a clogged condensation drain line so the pan empties freely.
3. The Evaporator Coils Develop Ice
A puddle of water on the floor might also come from ice melting. When the evaporator coils are dusty and dirty, the temperature of the refrigerant is affected. The dirt acts as insulation that keeps the air that blows over the coils away from the refrigerant lines. This can cause normal condensation on the coils to freeze.
The ice may eventually cause your AC to shut down, and then the ice melts and creates a puddle on the floor. The solution for this problem is to have an AC technician clean the coils so they are free from dust and then start your AC again. You'll also want to dry the area thoroughly so metal parts don't stay wet and begin to rust.
Water on the floor around your AC is not a good thing since the water could damage the floor, allow mold to grow in the air conditioner, and even cause damage to the air handler. Call an AC professional if you need help determining the cause of the problem so repairs can be done promptly.
For more information, reach out to an air conditioning service in your area.