What Could Cause My Air Conditioner to Leak?
Your air conditioner works harder than ever during the blistering summer months. After all, this is when you need it most. Unfortunately, this is also the time when air conditioners are most likely to break down. It’s poor timing, we know. One of the ways that your air conditioner becomes problematic is when it starts leaking water.
Air conditioning leaks can be frustrating. Not only are they messy, but they can potentially cause significant water damage to your home. In fact, these “small” inconveniences can sometimes lead to big problems. Routine ac service maintenance can help avoid these problems if possible.
How Do Air Conditioners Work?
Air conditioning systems have an indoor evaporator coil and an outdoor condenser coil. The evaporator coil is responsible for cooling the warm air. It does this by absorbing the heat as the air passes over it. This causes condensation.
Due to this condensation, moisture forms and needs a place to drain. Usually, it will run into a drain pan, which will lead to a condensate drain line that eventually removes this liquid from your home.
However, when your AC unit starts leaking inside your house, there is a problem with the system that drains liquid.
Common Reasons For a Leaking AC Unit
The following issues can cause water leaks in your central AC system:
Clogged Drain Line
From time to time, the drain line that directs the liquid from your home can get clogged up. As you can imagine, dirt and mold can be the reason for a blocked-up condensate drain line. Your first line of defense would be to unblock it. You can do this by removing any obstructions in the condensate line. If you’re unsure about how to do this, contact an HVAC technician. They have the correct tools to take care of a problem like this. You will not go wrong by hiring a professional.
A clogged condensate drain pipe can make your AC system’s drain pan overflow. This is probably the most frequent cause of water leakage from a central AC system, bringing many ac service calls to HVAC professionals as summer temperatures rise.
Dirty Air Filters
As you know, air filters need to be changed regularly. An air filter clogged with dirt and pet dander will cause your AC unit to work harder than usual. If you’ve noticed your electricity bills increasing, this is probably why. A dirty air filter can damage the components of your AC unit as they wear out quicker. A dirty air filter can even block airflow moving over the evaporator coil. When this happens, the area around the evaporator coil becomes too cold and causes it to freeze. Eventually, when you change your air filter, the frozen coil will melt and cause your drain pan to overflow. Ensure that your air filters are changed regularly to prevent this from happening.
The refrigerant in your AC unit is not supposed to run out. However, if it does, this could be due to a leak. When you have less refrigerant in your AC unit, it lowers the pressure inside. This also causes your evaporator coil to freeze.
If your AC unit is struggling to cool your home down or you hear a strange sound coming from your AC unit, check the refrigerant. If you suspect that you’re low on refrigerant, contact an HVAC professional as soon as possible. A prompt reaction to this problem can prevent severe damage to your AC unit and even prolong its life.
Damaged Drain Overflow Pan
The drain pan that collects liquid could be damaged. If your drain pan is damaged, call an AC contractor immediately to replace it with a new one.
It’s possible that your AC unit was not installed correctly. If the unit is not on level ground, it may start leaking. The tilt will cause the drain pan to overflow. This can only be corrected by a qualified HVAC technician. An AC expert will know exactly how to place your AC unit to ensure proper drainage.
It’s possible that the pump used to take liquid from the overflow pan is faulty. If this is the case, it needs to be replaced. This is a job for an HVAC specialist like your neighbors at AirMax.
Disconnected Drain Line
When AC systems are improperly installed drain pipe fittings may not be secure and probably will require some ac service. Over time, they can loosen, causing the drain pipe to disconnect from the AC unit and allowing the condensate to drain through the ceiling or onto the floor. As with a clogged drain line, the location of the leak will depend on whether the primary or secondary drain pipe is the one affected and whether your central AC system is located in the attic or in your house.
Condensate Pump Problems
A malfunctioning or dirty condensate pump can also cause water leakage from your AC system, flooding your attic or basement. Due to the continual presence of water, mold and mildew can grow inside the unit, causing it to clog.
Here’s How To Avoid Damage From Water Leakage
If your air handler is in the attic, ensure that you have a secondary drain line for your central air conditioning system. You may want to install an overflow shutoff switch with a floating device to prevent the full drain pan from leaking. In addition to that, try adding a safety pan under your air conditioner to catch the liquid if your drain pan overflows.
This may be a simple one, but it is vital that you change your air filter on a regular basis to prevent blockage. Perhaps you could call an AC specialist out to your home to check on the insulation of your ductwork and your refrigerant levels. They will also ensure that each of your drain lines contains a p-trap and air vent.
Follow these tips to reduce the likelihood of water leakage issues:
- Make sure your central AC system has a secondary drain line — especially if your air handler is in the attic.
- Install a drain pan overflow shutoff switch, equipped with a float.
- Add a safety pan under your AC unit to catch drain pan overflow.
- Clean or change your HVAC air filter regularly.
- Make sure your ductwork is properly insulated.
- Have your AC refrigerant levels checked during regular ac service visits.
- Make sure each drain line contains a p-trap and air vent.
- Keep your condensate pump free from mold and mildew by flushing it with a 50% bleach/water solution.
- Schedule annual ac service maintenance to maximize performance and minimize furnace and AC repairs.
Don’t Wait on AC Repairs
If your AC unit is leaking or causing your electricity bill to spike, you may need an AC repair. Our technicians will thoroughly inspect your AC unit and repair any faulty components. If your AC unit has been leaking for a while, we advise that you get your unit checked out before you use it. Some of the parts may have been damaged by the leak. It is also possible that some parts wore out quicker during this time. To prevent serious damage, call Charleston’s best HVAC company, AirMax Heating & Air to have a look.
Schedule Routine AC Tune-Ups With a Professional
Most of these problems can be avoided with regular AC tune-ups. AC tune-ups will ensure that all the components are free from debris and frost. It will also ensure that you have sufficient refrigerant to cool your home. Annual tune-ups will be able to spot leaks before they become out of hand. For the best results, schedule your AC tune-ups just before summer starts so that your AC unit is in prime condition to take on the harsh summers ahead.
Need Reliable AC Services in Charleston? Contact AirMax!
For the base AC repair and maintenance in Charleston, contact AirMax Heating & Air today. We are a family-owned business with over 20 years of experience. Our local repair professionals have exactly what it takes to get your AC unit back in working order when you need it most. Don’t let you and your family melt away, contact AirMax Heating & Air today for the best AC repair services.
AirMax Heating & Air is available to serve your emergency AC repair needs, 24/7. Our locally based, professionally trained technicians are always ready to assist you. We are your family-owned air conditioning & heating business. We offer comprehensive AC Service in Charleston and neighboring communities.