If you have a central air conditioner, then you want to make sure that the appliance works well. This means investigating and inspecting the device often for signs of issues. One problem you may notice is moisture around the unit. If you see moisture, then keep reading to understand what the problem may be.
Broken AC Compressor
If you notice a pool of fluid building around your AC unit, then there is a good chance that the air conditioner has formed a leak. Compressor leaks are the most common due to the phase change of the coolant itself. Specifically, the compressor pump forces the coolant under a great deal of pressure. As it does this, the gaseous coolant turns into a fluid. If the seals inside the pump and along the discharge line are broken or cracked, then the fluid coolant will escape and it can pool on the ground.
While coolant may escape from the copper line that runs from the compressor pump to the evaporator unit, the line is often quite short and not places under a great deal of pressure, so it is not likely.
A small hole can allow for the formation of a puddle and you can often tell if there is a coolant leak through a variety of other symptoms and issues that you are likely to experience. For example, coolant leaks typically lead to the poor cooling function of the AC unit as well as the buildup of ice on the evaporator unit. If the compressor is not functioning properly, then you may also hear some noises coming from the air conditioner. For example, you may hear some clunks, clangs, or vibration noises.
When compressor pumps are in poor shape and are about to fail, then you may have some overheating issues. The unit is likely to trip the breaker attached to it and it may take some time for the breaker to reset. In most cases, the breaker can be flipped once the compressor cools down.
If the compressor is the cause of the leaking issue and the pooling water, then the problem will likely worsen. It is wise to have the unit looked at before it overheats and more extensive cooling problems develop.
If you notice water around your outdoor AC unit, then the moisture may have little to nothing to do with the actual outdoor compressor. The water may be coming from the indoor unit. As humid air passes over the indoor condenser coil, moisture builds up on the copper metal tubing and drips down into a condensate pan. The pan has a small drain line attached to it that feeds outdoors.
Since the outdoor condenser unit feeds coolant through to the indoor evaporator unit, the drainage line typically exists your house fairly close to the condenser. If water collection and drainage is excessive, then the draining water may naturally pool around the condenser. This is especially true if the weather is particularly humid. Wait until the weather is more dry and look to see if the water is still pooling around the unit.
Also, in some cases, water may begin building around the air conditioner if the weather outside is cooler. Cooler air does not hold as much water as warmer air and thus fluid may pool around the AC appliance without evaporating. When you run the AC unit in colder weather, condensation is also likely to form on the condenser coil and it can drip to the ground and form puddles.
If you are concerned about moisture, then consider the weather and think about giving your AC unit a break for a few hours if it is humid or cool. If the problem persists, then contact an AC professional who can better assess the issue.