Is Your Air Conditioner Leaking Water? Here’s Why and What to Do
Is your air conditioner leaking water all of a sudden?
Over 100 million homes in the United States have air conditioning. For the most part, they’re scattered over the southern part of the country where the heat rises to its hottest. It’s also here that many HVAC systems experience leaks coming from their units due to their excessive use.
Is your air conditioner doing the same? Do you want to find out what it means and how to make it stop?
Of course you do! Water leaking out of any electronic device is never a good thing. Read on to learn more about what makes your AC leak and what you can do to stop it.
Why Is Your Air Conditioner Leaking Water?
Finding out what causes condensation in your air conditioning system boils down to a few common problems. These are some of the most common reasons why you’ll start noticing water coming out of your air conditioner.
1. You Have a Clogged Condensate Drain Line
The most common cause of air conditioner leaks is because your unit has a clogged condensate drain line. Often, the condensate line gets clogged with dirt and dust that passes through it. Over time, it mixes with the moisture of the air conditioning unit and sticks to the sides of the drain line.
This causes it to gunk up the line and prevent the condensation from getting drained to where it should be going. This results in the drain line backing up and overflowing out of the air conditioner.
There are other cases where the condensate pump is the one having problems instead of the drain pipe. This is the case if you have an AC unit installed in the basement of your house. When the pump breaks, there’s nothing to pump the water out of your AC unit and unto the ground outside, causing the area around the unit to start gathering water.
2. Your Air Conditioner Doesn’t Have Enough Refrigerant
Having little to no refrigerant in your air conditioner may lower the pressure in your unit. When this begins to happen, you’ll notice it first from the temperature of the air getting expelled. It won’t be as cold as it was before.
Also, having low refrigerant causes your evaporator coils to freeze up. Evaporator coils are responsible for converting the liquid from your AC unit into vapor. This is the vapor the unit expels and cools down the area around it.
Not having enough refrigerant means there’s nothing to power up the coils to do its job. This causes the coils to begin to freeze over time. This won’t pose a problem at first but once it starts to heat up again, what’s frozen will melt and cause a leak in the air conditioning unit.
3. The Air Filter Accumulated a Lot of Dirt
Another common reason why your AC begins dripping water is because of the air filter. Accumulated dirt can stop the filter from doing its job and prevent it from supplying power to another vital part of the air conditioning unit, the evaporator coils.
Similar to the effect of not having enough refrigerant, a dirty air filter can cause the coils to freeze over. This time around though, it’s because no proper airflow reaches the coils. Without air flowing through it, it gets too cold and freezes up once again.
It’s best not to let the evaporator coils freeze up in either case though. Freezing can cause some damage to itself along with other parts of the unit. The damage it causes can sometimes be irreparable and lead to buy a new AC unit instead.
4. Drain Pan Got Rusted or Damaged
Damaged or rusted drain pans is a common case for old air conditioning units. If you’re faced with one that’s cracked, then you’re fortunate. It’s easier to fix than a rusted one as you can use sealants to solve the problem.
A rusted drain pan is a bit trickier, though. It means the rust ate through the metal and there’s not much to work with anymore. Often, drain pans with this kind of problems have a lot of holes for water to fall through.
Unlike most of the problems here on the list though, drain pans are the easiest problems to fix. Replacement is the most common solution to this problem. What’s great about these is that they’re cheap compared to other parts of the AC unit.
What You Can Do About It
Is your air conditioner leaking water the last time you checked? If it is, don’t despair! There are still some ways for you to fix your air conditioning unit yourself.
1. Make It a Habit to Change Your Air Filters
One of the best things you can do to ensure your AC unit stops leaking is to change your air filters. These shouldn’t prove much of a financial problem as they’re cheap compared to buying a new AC unit. Also, they sometimes come as a 2-in-1 pack, making them more affordable.
Doing this is one of the best and easiest ways to increase the AC unit efficiency, as well. Keeping the airways free of dust promotes cleaner air and decreases the chance of damage. Keeping the vent facing away from debris like furniture will also help the air filters.
With the right management, you should only need to replace the filter every 1-3 months. This depends on how dirty the air in the area is. The more polluted the area is, the more frequent of a change you need.
2. Clean Out the Condensate Drain Line
If you’re experiencing a condensate drain line clog, then it’s best to shut down your unit first. Opening up the unit until you can see the drain line will allow you to clean this out faster and easier. Pop open the PVC cap covering the drain line and you should see how clogged it is from the inside.
A good way to clean this is to get a long wire brush and scrub the inside of the drain line. With little effort, the loose gunk like mold will come off the sides of the pipe. Once you get most of the blockage out, give it a test by running some water through it.
If it comes out as fast as you expect it to, you can begin putting it back in the unit. Before you close it up though, you should take this opportunity to refill your AC unit’s refrigerant. Make sure to use approved ones as illegal refrigerant can harm both you and the environment.
3. Make Sure Your Drain Pan Is the Right Fit for Your Unit
As mentioned above, replacement is the best fix for rusted or cracked drain pans. However, some people think any kind of drain pan fits their AC unit. This causes a lot of air conditioning units to have ill-fitting drain pans.
If you think that doesn’t sound too great, you’re right. Drain pans should be a perfect fit for the AC unit to function well. Have it too big and your pan will spill due to the awkward angle it will get placed in.
If it’s too small though, it won’t catch all the drippings coming from the unit and result in more leaks. Contact professionals for drain pan replacement instead. This way, you ensure you get the best drain pan for your unit.
4. Pour Bleach into Your Drain Line Every 6 Months
This step is more for the prevention of leaks in your air conditioning unit. A simple way to keep your drain line clean for a long time is to pour bleach into it. Doing this kills any microbes along the pipes which may grow into algae or mold.
To make sure the bleach goes all over, you need to empty the drain line first. This ensures the bleach covers all the nooks and crannies of your drain pipe. It’s also a great idea to let it sit for around 1 minute to make sure the bleach kills all potential growth.
Doing this at least once every 6 months kills anything which can grow within that time frame. Doing it more often may corrode the inside of your drain line. This can lead to unwanted damage to your drain.
5. Don’t Overwork Your Air Conditioner When It’s Hot Outside
Yes, it’s tempting to set the temperature as low as it can get when it’s scorching outside. You should know, though, that doing this can cause damage to your AC unit in the long run.
The cooling your AC needs to do when the heat is intense outside can damage its coils. The more heat needs to get absorbed, the more refrigerant it needs to use to absorb the heat. It also puts a lot of strain on the AC unit to convert the hot air into colder air.
To prevent this, it’s best you set your air conditioner on the best temperature. This will relieve some of the strain AC units face in converting the hot air. It’s also more beneficial for the environment.
Fix Your AC Leak Today
Is your air conditioner leaking water? Refer to this list for the most common reasons why this happens and what you can do to stop it today!
Resolving the problem sooner ensures minimal damage to your unit. Don’t delay and get fixing now!
Looking for professional HVAC services in the Seattle area? Contact us here if you are! We’ll get in touch with you as soon as we can!
Howard Hale creates effective content and marketing strategies for a multitude of businesses. His agency, ManifesGo is all about helping small businesses manifest their marketing goals and objectives.