Have you noticed that your air conditioner or heater is leaking water? There are several possible reasons for this, but whatever the cause, you’ll want to call in a professional AC technician to troubleshoot your system.
In the meantime, here are some common reasons why your residential AC may be leaking.
1. The condensate drain is clogged
The condensate drain in the air conditioner works to carry away accumulated water from the unit. However, if rust, dirt, debris, or algae build up in the drain, it can obstruct and clog it, causing water to accumulate inside the unit. This can result in water overflow and leakage from the air conditioner, potentially causing water damage and operational problems.
2. The drain line is disconnected
Even if your AC is installed correctly, it’s not unheard of for the drain line to become loose over time. If it gets loose enough, it can completely disconnect from your AC. The drain line is responsible for channeling the excess water away from the air conditioner, so when it is disconnected, the system cannot effectively manage the condensate, resulting in your A C leaking water.
3. The condensate pump is broken
When the condensate pump is broken, it can’t effectively remove the excess water from the condenser pan. Consequently, the pan becomes filled with water and may begin to overflow or leak. The broken condensate pump hampers the drainage process, leading to the accumulation of water and subsequent overflow or leakage from the pan.
4. The refrigerant level is too low
When the refrigerant level in an air conditioner is too low, it can result in inadequate cooling and temperature regulation. This can cause the evaporator coil to become excessively cold and freeze up. Once the coil thaws, the excess water produced cannot be properly drained, which results in the AC dripping water as the drip pan overflows.
5. The air filter is dirty
As the air filter becomes clogged with dirt, it hampers the airflow and limits proper ventilation for the evaporator coils. Consequently, the coils become excessively cold and eventually freeze. When the ice melts, the resulting moisture drips down, overwhelming the drip pan and leading to overflow and eventual leakage.
6. The evaporator coil is frozen
The AC evaporator coil can freeze due to a few reasons. One common cause is restricted airflow, which can occur when air filters are dirty or when air vents are blocked. When there is inadequate airflow over the coil, it becomes excessively cold and causes condensation to freeze on its surface. Low refrigerant levels or a malfunctioning expansion valve can also lead to an imbalance in the cooling process, causing the evaporator coil to freeze. If your AC is leaking water because of a frozen evaporator coil, then the ice on it has probably begun to melt.
7. The drain pipe is damaged
If the drain pan in an older unit is rusted or otherwise damaged, it can stop the water from reaching the condensate line, resulting in a potential water leak. This can cause water to leak inside the home if the condensate is not filtered correctly by the damaged drain pan, leading to gradual water damage if not addressed.
8. The AC system isn’t installed correctly
Poor installation practices, such as improper connection of refrigerant lines, loose fittings, or improper sealing, can cause refrigerant to escape. As a result, the cooling system may not function efficiently, leading to water leakage from the unit due to condensation buildup and drainage issues. Proper installation is crucial to ensure the AC system operates effectively and prevents leaks.
9. The coils are dirty
Whenever your evaporator coils get dirty, it can restrict their ability to allow water to drip down into the drain pan. Instead, water will back up on the debris stuck to the dirty coils and end up overflowing. Simply removing the debris from your coils will allow water to flow down easily into the drain pan as it should.
10. The insulation is damaged
If you’ve noticed that your AC is leaking water slightly, it could be due to a problem with your piping insulation. Some AC pipes will have insulation on them to prevent condensation from forming. However, if there are damaged sections of the insulation or even holes in it, your AC system could start to drip. Identifying the damaged insulation and replacing it with new insulation is a fairly straightforward process.
11. The temperature is too cold to run your AC
If you try to get the unit to cool your home when it’s cold outside, it can cause the evaporator coil to freeze. Once the ice begins to melt, it can result in excess water that the unit is not designed to handle, leading to leakage from the air conditioner. To avoid this problem, don’t run your AC when the temperature is below 60 degrees.
Get help from the HVAC professionals at Richmond’s Air
It’s normal for a well-functioning AC to produce a little bit of condensation at times. The more your AC is on and running, the more condensation you’ll have. However, when excess water is regularly leaking from the unit, you don’t want to ignore it.
If you notice that your AC has been leaking for more than a day, contact an experienced AC technician at Richmond’s Air right away. We’ve been Houston’s most trusted residential HVAC experts since 2002, servicing ALL major home AC and heating systems. Contact us today to discuss all your heating and cooling needs.