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Summer is the season associated with fun vacations and relaxation, but it also brings along hot months that may make your air conditioner work overtime. If you happen to discover your air conditioning unit leaking water, you might wonder what exactly is going on and how you can correct the issue.
The answer to this problem is not straightforward, as leaks can be caused by a variety of factors. Keep reading to find out the reasons you might find yourself with a leaky AC unit and steps you can take to prevent future damage.
Where Is the Water Coming From?
Modern air conditioning systems come with outdoor and indoor units that have distinct but equally important roles in reaching your ideal temperature. Typically, the indoor unit will come with an evaporator coil that is responsible for cooling the warm air that passes over it.
When hot air passes this evaporator coil, it begins to experience condensation, which results in the formation of tiny water droplets. This process is like the water that begins to form around a cup with ice, and similar to a cup coaster, a system is in place to prevent the water from pooling up.
The gathered moisture begins to drip down to a drain pan that connects to a condensate drain pipe. That pipe should allow the condensation to flow away from your system, preventing any damage to your air conditioning unit, as well as preventing water from puddling.
That being said, there are occasions when the mechanism may fail, and you could even end up with your air conditioning unit leaking water into your home. Fortunately, there is no need for too much concern, as there are several ways to check for the cause of this issue, and there are also appropriate solutions.
Clogged Drain Line
The main perpetrator behind a leaking air conditioning unit is a clogged condensate drain line. This is the previously mentioned line that is responsible for taking condensation outside of your home, and it can sometimes be clogged by dust, dirt, or other particles.
When this drain line becomes clogged or otherwise blocked, it stops the water from being disposed of, and liquid will start to pool up in the pan. At this point, the condensation will overflow and leak outside of your air conditioning unit.
This particular problem is easy to solve by simply removing the debris from the drain line with a tool such as a wet/dry vacuum. A vacuum should provide the sufficient power needed to unclog the drain line and allow water to pass through it once again.
In the event that your vacuum is not able to clear the drain line, you will have to call professionals to help clear the line for you. Such professionals will have specialized tools to deal with your air conditioning unit, which will save you plenty of time and effort.
Dirty Air Filter
If you give proper maintenance to your air conditioning unit, you are already aware that you should be changing your air filter every 30 days to ensure optimal performance. Not changing your air filter can have serious consequences for your AC, as it can make your system overexert itself and cause damage to certain parts.
One example of this is when a dirty air filter creates a restriction in airflow over your evaporator coil. This will cause your coil to become extremely cold and freeze, an issue that affects the condensation created in your system.
The extra water created by having your frozen evaporator coil melt can cause your drain pan to overflow, not unlike the effect of a clogged drain line. Thankfully, taking care of this issue is extremely easy. All you need to do is ensure you change your air filter every 30 days.
Your Unit Is Low on Refrigerant
When your refrigerant gets low, it can create problems for your air conditioning unit by lowering the pressure inside your system. A lack of refrigerant and a decrease in pressure will lead to your evaporator coil freezing up, which will create a similar issue to that caused by a dirty air filter.
Detecting a low level of refrigerant is more difficult than checking for a dirty air filter, so look out for an AC unit not being able to cool your home as it should, or listen for a hissing sound coming from your unit. Both of these are signs that you may be low on refrigerant, caused by a leak somewhere in your unit.
A refrigerant leak can be quite costly if you are not able to assess the issue quickly enough. If you catch the problem early, then you may be able to fix the damage, but in the worst-case scenario, you will end up having to buy a new unit.
To mitigate this potential issue, have your HVAC system checked out by professionals regularly. If you want to ensure your HVAC system lasts as long as possible, have it inspected at the start of the summer to catch any leaks or potential issues.
Other Causes for AC Leaks
Aside from the reasons above, there are many other possible causes for a water leak inside your air conditioner. Although AC units tend to last for a long time with proper maintenance, rust can build up and damage your drain pan to the point at which it leaks.
If your air conditioning unit has been in service for over 15 years, it might be prudent to replace the old drain pan (if not the entire AC unit). If that’s what’s causing your leak, replacing the pan is a quick and easy fix.
If your air conditioning unit is located in your basement, then a potential issue could be the condensate pump, which is responsible for taking the condensation from your basement to the outside.
If your condensate pump is broken and your AC unit cannot dispose of condensation properly, you’ll need to replace this component as soon as possible. Water buildup in your basement can lead to costly water damage if not dealt with swiftly.
Due to the potential costs associated with water damage in your basement, it is always best to have a professional take a look at your unit in case you have any doubts about the problem. A seemingly insignificant water drip can become a flooded basement in a matter of weeks. Always consult with a specialist when you can’t accurately find the issue with your unit.
Put a Stop to Your AC Leak
Knowing what to be on the lookout for when trying to fix a leaky AC unit is very handy, and you can even do the repair yourself when the issue is minor. However, if you’re not sure what you’re doing, even with some advice, then you should contact IT Landes Home Service Team for expert assistance. When you consult with us about your AC needs, we’ll get to the root cause of the leak and remedy the issue in short order. You’ll be able to enjoy your summer with peace of mind. We’ve been performing heating and cooling repairs, maintenance, and installations for customers in Harleysville and the surrounding areas since 1929. We also offer a complete array of plumbing services. Contact the IT Landes Home Service Team today to schedule an appointment.