No one wants to come home and welcomed by a puddle of water on the floor. Where is the water coming from? What is the extent of the damage? How much will you shell out for repairs?
These questions cause panic until you search the house and discover the culprit; the air conditioner.
- Why is water dripping from the AC? Before we answer that, first do these precautionary steps:
- Shut down the air conditioner to prevent further damage and stop the water flow.
- If the water spreads wide, turn off all the electrical systems to avoid electric shock. Unplug all compromised electrical appliances.
- Start the water cleanup to prevent damage to walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, and electronics.
5 Reasons for AC Water Leaks
The air conditioner’s problems develop over time due to lack of proper maintenance, over usage, and the usual wear and tear. Here are five reasons why water drips from your AC and what you can do about it.
- Improper AC Installation – If your newly installed AC is leaking, it may be because of a faulty installation. The AC unit and the drainage pipes may be out of proportion, which disrupts the flow of water to the drain pan. Water will not flow down to the drainage if the pipe is placed higher or at the same level as the central unit. It will flow back and leak inside the AC unit.
- Dirty or Damaged Evaporator Coils – Lack of regular maintenance can cause the accumulation of dirt and debris in your AC unit. Your evaporator coils have been collecting gunk and grime if they have not been cleaned for a long time. The outer coil insulation can also be damaged or cracked. If you notice small water puddles instead of large amounts of water, the evaporator coils may be causing the drip. The debris and holes in the AC coils’ insulation prevent the water from flowing through the drain line. Instead, the water is diverted and drips off the coil.
- Frozen Evaporator Coils – The evaporator coils do not get the air circulation they need when the air filter becomes clogged and dirty. The temperature drops, the coils get too cold, then they freeze. A refrigerant leak can also freeze the evaporator coils. When there is a refrigerant line leak, the low pressure causes a drop in the refrigerant temperature. The low temperature can freeze the refrigerant line and the evaporator coils. The accumulated ice in the coils will melt when the AC is turned off since the indoor unit will stop sucking cold air. Once the AC water from the melted ice fills the drip tray capacity, it will overflow. Water will leak from the AC Unit.
- Broken Condensate Pump and Drain Pan – You will find the condensate pump below the cooling coil. It drains out excess water from the condenser drain pan to prevent water leakage. If the pump is broken or filled with dust and dirt, the pan will fill up and overflow. Rust, cracks, and holes can also form in old drain pans and cause the water leak. AC Units with a gravity drain line that carries condensate outside the house will not encounter this problem.
- Clogged or Disconnected Condensate Drain Line – Your AC cools the room by removing water vapor from the air. The vapor condenses into water, passes through the evaporator coils, and flows through the drain line. Drain line problems are the primary suspects of AC leaking water. If rust debris, algae, or dirt builds up and clogs the drain line, water will not flow outside but leak inside the house. Inexperienced HVAC installers can make the mistake of not properly securing the drain line connection. Over time, the drain line can come loose and get disconnected from the AC Unit, causing water to drip from the air conditioner.
Troubleshooting AC Water Leak Problems
Different solutions to stop water from leaking in your AC unit are available depending on the problem source. Some are DIY, while others require professional help.
If the drain pipes are not appropriately leveled, contact HVAC professionals to re-install the AC unit correctly and in the right location. You can also ask them to connect the condensate drain lines to the main unit securely.
Clean the Evaporator Coils
Follow these steps to clean the evaporator coils:
- Turn off and unplug the AC unit
- Remove the AC’s front cover
- Use a vacuum cleaner to suck dirt and debris from the coils
- Be careful when cleaning the aluminum fins of the coil that get bent easily.
Clean the Condensate Drain
If you are familiar with the AC parts, you can clean and unclog the condensate drain by following these steps:
- Turn off the AC unit to ensure safety.
- Unscrew the access panel. You will find the condensate drain pan under the evaporating coils.
- If water overflows from the drain pan, the drain is clogged. Drain the water from the pan.
- Use a wet vacuum cleaner or high-pressure suction pump to suck out all the dirt, mold, and debris clogging the drain line.
- Flush out the drain pipe using soap and water.
Clean and replace the air filter regularly. You can also remove dust and dirt in the condenser coils and blower fan. You need to contact an HVAC professional to seal refrigerant line leaks, recharge your AC’s refrigerant, and repair or replace a broken condensate pump.
Home Comfort USA Air Conditioner Repair and Maintenance
When your AC unit works improperly, it consumes more electricity that translates to higher energy bills. A water leak may be a sign of a bigger AC problem, which can result in costly repairs or AC unit replacement.
Get in touch with experienced Home Comfort USA HVAC technicians once you notice water leaking from your air conditioner. We will assess the situation, identify the problem source, and offer the most effective solution to help you save money, time, and effort. With our 32-Point Tune-Up, we will inspect and replace damaged AC parts, clean air filters, and unclog the pipes to keep your air conditioner in perfect shape.