What Causes an Air Conditioner Leak?
You might be noticing a few drips or even a puddle near your air conditioning unit. There are actually five main causes, and the severity and cost of repair varies widely. Before you call for a repair, Hydes would like to help you understand what may be occurring in your unit. In the meantime, while your AC is not functioning properly, we advise turning your thermostat off to avoid further damage.
Chances are, your AC leak is due to one of these five causes.
1. Dirty Air Filter
Quick check: can you lift your air filter up to the light and see through it? If not, the leaking water can be due to the air filter blocking the airflow to the AC’s evaporator coil. When this happens, the coil becomes too cold and freezes. This can produce a lot of water as it melts.
Fortunately, this is an easy solution. Replace your air filter and the problem will go away.
2. Low Refrigerant Levels
If refrigerant levels are low in your system, it causes the pressure to drop and freeze the evaporator coil. A hissing or bubbling noise will sometimes accompany a refrigerant leak. Also, your AC will feel less cool than before.
There are two courses of action for leaking refrigerant: repairing the leak or replacing the entire system. What you need is really up to the condition that your system is in.
3. Damaged Drain Pan
Some water in your AC is normal. That is where the drain pan comes in. However, if it is old and rusted, it might let the water leak. You are more likely to experience this if your unit is 12-15 years old, which is about the age that we recommend having a replacement.
Could you just have the drain pan replaced? Yes, however, it is usually an indication that your entire unit is on the verge of a breakdown or you will have to deal with more part replacements. The current replacement options will bring you more efficiency than ever, and you will probably notice a comfort upgrade.
4. Clogged Condensate Drain Line
Again, some amount of condensate/water accumulation on your system is normal. But having a clogged drain line will make the water accumulation more noticeable. This problem is by far the most common cause of what you are experiencing. The clog can be caused by:
There are a few different ways a technician can unclog the lines, but the most effective way is to use a vacuum to quickly and safely clear the blockage.
5. Broken Condensate Pump
This is a problem that occurs for indoor AC units that are located in basements. For this location, your unit has a pump to empty the condensation outside. If the pump breaks, you’ll notice a small puddle.
It is much easier to replace the pump than trying to dump the collected water outside regularly, which is a temporary solution until a technician can arrive.
Why it is Important to Take Action With an AC Leak
Left unattended, an AC leak can cause damage to your house, such as:
- Mold & Mildew
- Warping/Waterlogged Wood
- Stained Drywall
In addition to the visible damage to your home, leaving a filter unchanged, causes strain on your system that can lead to poor air quality, breakdowns and lowered efficiency. Equally as damaging, letting your refrigerant run low means poorer performance and a higher risk of breakdowns.
If you have an air conditioning water leak on your hands, call Hydes at (760) 360-2202. Our expert techs can tell you if your problem is one of the five we’ve listed or something else, and we can fix any one of them.