Is it possible to create your own water leak in a condominium? Absolutely! But how? Let me tell you. Property managers and rental managers pay attention.
One of the easiest man made water leaks to diagnose is the leak that occurs from a plugged up or overflowing A/C condensation line. An air conditioner is nothing more than a big air dehumidifier and cooler. Air is drawn in to the unit through a large louvered area or door. This warm, humid air then passes over a set of coils filled with a refrigerant (such as freon or glycol). When the air passes over these coils, condensation occurs, similar to a cold drink developing moisture on the outside of the glass. This moisture then falls off the coils into a tray or pan which is tilted to a drain. This drain will then run to the outside of the unit to the ground. The air is chilled as it crosses these refrigerated coils and recirculated into the room using a fan.
The drain that collects the moisture and takes it away from your A/C unit can and does become clogged with mold, mildew and dust. The easiest way to remove the mold and mildew is to pour straight bleach down the condensation line twice per year, at the beginning of the warm season and at the end. If this drain line becomes obstructed, the condensate will back up into the line, into the pan and proceed to spill over on to the floor. Voila, man made water leak.
Why do property managers and rental managers need to know this? Because, when you have folks coming from far away lands to spend a week at an ocean front condo, what do you think they want to do while they’re in that unit? They want to listen to the sound of the ocean. What’s the easiest way to do that? They throw open every window and sliding glass door on the ocean so they can be surrounded by the sound of the sea. In doing so, they are bringing in this humidity laden air to be processed by the air conditioner and circulated back through the unit, setting A/C units at 65 degrees so the ambient temperature within the unit can be a comfortable 72-75 degrees. Most A/C units dehumidify air to between 40-60% moisture content. Just a quick look at today’s weather in our part of paradise shows humidity levels at 89%. With an A/C unit constantly circulating air that is so humid the A/C has to work overtime, degrading its useful life and the chances of a condensation line overfilling and creating a water leak have increased dramatically.
For property managers, the first place to look for a water leak in the summer is around the air handler unit. For rental managers, educate your guests on keeping doors and windows closed to prevent leaks from occurring.