How to Stop and Prevent Your AC Leaking Water
Have you noticed excessive dripping from your air conditioner or a pool of water forming underneath? Any air conditioner leak is a cause for concern, especially as summer approaches. You can't afford to let the machine go unfixed in the season you need it to work most.
But you'll never know how to fix the unit if you don't know the reason for the leak. Letting an issue go unaddressed can lead to emergency air conditioning repair service at inconvenient times.
This guide will cover the main reasons you'll find your air conditioner leaking water and what you can do to stop it.
How Does Water Form In Your Air Conditioning System?
Condensation builds up as your AC unit pumps cold air into your home. A modern AC unit has both an outdoor and indoor unit that helps with proper airflow. The inside AC system has an evaporator coil that chills the warm air outside to a comfortable temperature inside. As condensation forms, dripping water lands in the drip pan.
In this process, moisture pools in the drain pan, and excess water funnels through the condensate drain line. The drain pipes lead out of your home, so you won't find your air conditioner leaking water as long as they are functioning properly.
However, there are many ways that this process can go wrong. If even just one part is not working, you may notice a leak to deal with.
Reasons Your AC System Can Leak Water
While you can still use leaking air conditioners, it's not recommended for extended use. You should turn off the system to check what the cause of the problem is, which will most likely be one of the nine common reasons below.
AC leaks can be caused by simple problems like dirty air filters or more serious threats like frozen evaporator coils. Inspect your unit for the following causes of leaks.
Clogged Drain Line
A clogged drain line prevents an air conditioning unit from emptying any drain pans properly. When faced with a clogged condensate drain line, dirt and debris have built up, making it difficult for water to escape properly outside the home.
You can attempt to use a wet/dry vac to clear the blockage yourself, but you could potentially damage parts of the HVAC unit if done incorrectly.
When in doubt, call a professional to handle the clogged drain lines when you discover your AC unit leaking water.
Damaged Drain Pan
An older unit may have a rusted drain pan that prevents the dripping water from reaching the condensate line.
If the drain pan is damaged, it may cause a water leak if the water flow is obstructed. Since the drain line leads outside the home, you may find leaking water inside if the drain pan cannot filter the condensate properly, which can lead to water damage over time if left untreated.
You can replace the drain pan to see if that resolves the issue, but if not, you can call an HVAC technician to diagnose the problem.
Drain Line Is Disconnected
You'll find your AC leaking water inside with a disconnected drain line! The drain pan funnels water into the drain line, but the severed connection sends water leaking all over instead of leading it outside the home.
AC systems leaking water due to a problem with the water drains require professional attention to repair. When in doubt, have your AC leak looked at by an HVAC technician for the best results.
Broken Condensate Pump
An air conditioner leak may be due to a pump failure. This doesn't mean that the condensate pump is bad, necessarily, but that there is a drainage issue causing water accumulation to spill over. If the pump cannot drain water, manually empty the drain pan to see what the issue is. If the pump won't work, it's time to replace it.
You can also call a professional to take a look at the AC units to diagnose the issue if you're not sure what's causing it.
Frozen Evaporator Coil
Over time, the evaporator coil reaches its limit. Instead of cooling hot air and improving indoor air quality, the evaporator coils get dirty and slow down as refrigerant leaks into the unit. With no heat to absorb, it gets colder and colder until it freezes your air conditioning unit and stops.
To fix a frozen coil and restore air flow to your home, you'll need to start by turning off your AC. You'll notice your AC dripping water, but this is just the unit thawing out. Call a professional to look at the unit later to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Dirty Air Filter
A dirty filter causes air conditioners to work harder. This extra strain makes it difficult for the oxygen to reach the evaporator coils, which can cause the coil to freeze when the necessary heat is not absorbed.
You'll want to make sure the air vents are clear and not blocked by any debris. Replace your air filters once a month for the best results. A clean air filter will improve the quality and prevent any freezing or water damage from harming the unit.
Outdoor Temperatures Too Cold To Run AC
Do not operate the AC unit if the outside temperature is too cold. This can cause the coils to freeze, which will harm the unit. Instead, wait for the weather to warm up before turning on the unit.
Any condensation created when it's too cold will freeze the coils. A professional air handler will advise you not to run the AC when the temperature is under 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Low Refrigerant Level
If your AC doesn't have enough refrigerant, you'll find the AC leaking water. A hissing or bubbling sound can indicate you're low, or if your home feels warmer than usual, you may need to check the unit.
If you catch a refrigerant leak in time, you can repair the damage before it gets too bad. You can replace the refrigerant yourself or contact a professional to check out the system and perform routine maintenance.
Improper AC Installation
If the unit were installed improperly, you would notice several issues arise. Water leakage results from faulty installation, and it can't be fixed by DIY methods like a long wire brush or a float switch. Built-up water located underneath your unit can destroy ceilings if improperly drained.
If the HVAC unit is too big or too small for your home, it won't regulate circulation properly within the structure. You can contact a professional to replace the system so that your home is correctly cooled.
Trust ARS/Rescue Rooter for Your AC Repair Needs
No matter what, water leaking from your AC unit is never a good sign. Water damage is expensive and can ruin your home.
Thankfully, the air conditioning repair professionals at ARS/Rescue Rooter can help! Give us a call, and we'll take a look at the system to see what can be done. We'll be happy to take a look at your unit, diagnose the cause of the leak, and get your system in like-new condition again.