AC Leaks – The 5 Most Common Causes
One of the most common scenarios you’ll have to deal with when you have an AC unit at home is the possibility of it leaking. If and when it does though, there is no need to panic. Even when nothing is broken inside the unit, water leaks may still occur. Whether or not your system requires repair or full air conditioner replacement would require taking a look inside, which means getting an HVAC expert to do the job.
Read on and find out some of the most common reasons air conditioners leak.
AC leaks— what causes it?
Inside an air conditioning unit is an evaporator coil. It is designed for cooling the warm air blowing over it. This process naturally causes moisture to build up. This moisture then drips and is caught by the drain pan. The water accumulated here will then get pumped out of your home through the condensate drain line.
All of these components need to be installed properly, otherwise, they will most likely lead to leaks and a whole host of other issues. The same is true when any of these components get damaged. Leaks can also happen when it’s already very cold outside but you are still attempting to try and cool your interiors.
Below are some of the most common reasons your air conditioner leaks:
Dirty air filter
Air conditioning filters need regular cleaning or replacement ideally, this needs to be done at least once every 1- 3 months. Failure to do so can lead to reduced efficiency of the unit. It may even lead to the AC blowing more dust into your exterior or in some cases, cause airflow blockage.
This will not only cause the AC to fail in terms of keeping your interiors cool, in most cases, but it can also lead to the evaporator coil getting frozen over. When the ice in the condenser coil starts melting, this can usually cause the drain pan to overflow, which in turn, causes leaks. This is the reason that the air filters should be checked and replaced on the regular.
Rusted or damaged drain pan
Older air conditioning units, just like any appliance unit in your home, are subject to wear and tear. This is why it is very common for very old units that are 12 years or older to have corroded or damaged drain pans. As a result, water can seep through these holes, causing it to leak into your living spaces. In this case, the only solution is to get the drain pan replaced immediately before the leaks can cause considerable damage to your property.
Condensate pump failure
It is common for furnaces and AC that are installed in the basement to get fitted with condensate pumps that are designed to take any accumulated water outside. If this pump malfunctions, the Ac will not have any means to drain out any excess water outside. The best solution to this is to try and repair the old pump or have it replaced with a new one.
Condensate drain line blockage
Sludge, mold, dust and dirt can easily accumulate along the drain line. As a result, water can back up into the interior AC unit. When water has nowhere else to go, it will start spilling over the drain pan and eventually, leak into your walls and floors. Unclogging the drain line or replacing it with a new one should address the problem.
Low refrigerant levels
Just like with dirty AC filters, when your unit suffers from low levels of refrigerant, the evaporator coil will cool down too much that it will eventually freeze over. Eventually, the ice will start to melt and once it does, it can lead to too much water getting accumulated in the drain pan. Eventually, the water will spill over, which leads to leaks.
There are tell-tale signs that your AC is low on refrigerant. Among these are:
- The AC is not cooling as effectively as it should
- The AC lets out hissing or bubbling noises
If you suspect that the refrigerant levels in your AC are running low, always consult the experts to determine what your best course of action is.