There is never a worse time to have air conditioner problems than summer. If a puddle of water is coming from your ceiling and/or beneath your unit, you need to act quickly to limit the damage being done. Comfort Air can help resolve the leak and restore your system quickly if you find a leak.
Why is My AC Leaking Water?
An air conditioner leaking water indicates that there is a problem somewhere in the normal cooling cycle. Many people are under the impression that an AC unit cools the air, but that is hardly the case. Your AC unit actually removes the heat and sends it outside. Next, your return vent pulls the humid air from your home and blows it across an evaporator coil. The heat is then absorbed by the evaporator coil’s refrigerant and converted to a gas. After that, the cool air remaining is blown back into your home, while the hot gas is sent outside to your compressor and condenser. After the hot gas is released, the refrigerant becomes a cool liquid again and is returned to the evaporator coil to repeat the process. Therefore, an air conditioner dripping during this process is completely normal. The drain pan under the evaporator coil is designed to collect any moisture that collected from converting the humid air. The collected water is then drained outside through your drain line. If the drain pan is overfilled or too much water accumulates in your line, there may be shut-off switches like the pan switch or the E-Z trap, which are installed to automatically cut off your unit. Because these switches are not part of a typical installation, you probably do not have this addition without asking. If a shut-off switch is part of your unit, it can minimize damage to your home.
The Signs of HVAC Leaking Water
Some of the signs that your HVAC system is leaking water include:
- Puddle of water under your unit
- Water dripping from ceiling or down walls beneath your unit
- Moldy smell
If you experience any of these problems, use the shut-off switch and call someone right away.
Common Reasons for a Leak
Now that we’ve learned what to look for, let’s talk about some of the most common reasons for a leak.
- A Damaged Drain Pan–Drain pans come in a variety of materials, including stainless steel, galvanized steel, and polymer. The lifespan of a drain pan can vary, but eventually they will become rusted or corroded creating a leak. Unfortunately, drain pans cannot be properly patched or repaired DIY style, so calling the professionals for a replacement is the only reliable option.
- A Clogged Drain Line–The drain line is responsible for draining the water collected in the drain pan during the normal cooling process. If the drain line is clogged, you will end up with a leak. Clogs can occur because of old, damaged, or low-quality air filters being used in your HVAC unit. Changing air filters regularly is important for your indoor air quality, but it also helps prevent dirt and debris from getting into your drain line. Algae buildup in your pan or drain line could also cause a clogged drain line.
- A Failed Condensate Pump–If your unit is placed where water cannot be drained outside (using gravity), your system may rely upon a condensate pump to move the water out from your drain pan. If the pump stops working, the water in your pan will overflow.
- A Frozen Evaporator Coil–The evaporator coil can freeze for two different reasons: refrigerant leak and airflow reduction. If the warm air is not passing over the coils properly, the refrigerant cannot become a gas and will freeze on the coils instead. Some reasons that the airflow could be reduced include: a dirty air filter, a blocked vent, a failing fan, a dirty coil, or a collapsed air duct. If the refrigerant is leaking, the remaining liquid in the coil expands and the temperature is reduced, allowing it to freeze.
What Do I Do When I Spot a Leak?
If you spot a leak, don’t panic! Simply follow these instructions:
- Shut off your Air Conditioner Right Away.
- Dry up the Leak if Possible
- Give us a Call!
If you have a leaking AC unit, the Comfort Air team will be there quickly to help. We can find the source of the leak and restore your family’s comfort.