Problems with your AC unit are never a fun time to deal with, but at least some of them come with obvious visible signs that allow you to identify them quickly. A good example here is water leaking from your outdoor AC unit — identifying this concern is usually simple enough, but there are actually several underlying reasons why it might be happening, and getting to the bottom of them is important.
At Lee’s Heating and Air, we’re happy to cover all your air conditioning needs, from preventive AC maintenance services through AC repairs and even new installations where necessary. What are some of the common reasons why your AC might be leaking water, and what can be done about this — either on your own or with the help of our team? Here’s a primer.
Condensate Drain Line Clog
One of the most frequent reasons for water leaking from your AC unit is a clog in the condensate drain line. Your air conditioner produces water as a result of the cooling process, and this water is typically funneled away through a small drain pipe. If this pipe becomes blocked, however, the water can back up and eventually cause leaks.
There are a few things that can cause a clog in the condensate drain line. In some cases, it might simply be due to dirt and debris build-up over time. In other cases, there might be an issue with the float switch — a small device that is designed to shut off the AC unit when the water level gets too high.
Dirty or Frozen Evaporator Coil
In other cases, water leaking from your AC unit might actually be a sign of a dirty or frozen evaporator coil. The evaporator coil is responsible for absorbing heat from the air in your home, and it needs to be kept clean in order for the AC unit to function properly. If the coil becomes dirty, it can cause the AC unit to freeze up and eventually lead to water leaks.
In either of these cases, attention from a professional AC repair technician will be necessary in order to resolve the issue. Trying to clean a dirty evaporator coil on your own, for example, can be difficult and even dangerous — it’s always best to leave this type of work to the professionals.
Clogged Air Filters
Some might struggle to see how clogged air filters in your system lead to leaks in the outdoor AC unit, but this just requires a simple understanding of how airflow works within HVAC systems. Clean filters allow air to pass through more freely, while clogged filters restrict airflow and cause the system to work harder than necessary.
When this happens, instead of your AC taking humid air out of the home and cooling it, this air will instead be frozen into layers of ice — this is because there’s less of it, and not enough heat to thaw the air given the power of the refrigerant being applied to it. As a result, you’ll likely see water pooled around the outdoor AC unit, as well as frost or ice buildup.
This is yet another problem that will require the attention of an AC repair technician in order to be resolved. Simply replacing your air filters on a regular basis, though, can help to prevent this issue from occurring in the first place.
Rusting Drip Pan
Another important component in your AC unit is the drip pan. This pan is designed to catch humid water droplets and hold them so they can be cooled and eventually released outside. Over time, though, the pan can become rusty or corroded — and when this happens, it might not be able to do its job properly. As a result, water might start to leak out of your AC unit.
In some cases, you might be able to clean the drip pan on your own and resolve the issue. In other cases, though, you might need to replace the pan entirely — and this is a job that’s best left to the professionals.
In other cases, water leaking from your AC unit might be a sign of a faulty installation. If the AC unit wasn’t installed properly to begin with, then it’s likely that there are some loose connections or other problems that need to be addressed. This is yet another issue that will require the attention of an AC repair technician in order to be resolved.
Another possible reason for water leaking from your AC unit is a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant is a key component in the cooling process, and if there’s a leak, it can cause the entire system to malfunction. This is a serious problem that will require the attention of an AC repair technician as soon as possible.
When refrigerant leaks, it can cause the evaporator coil to freeze — and as we mentioned before, a frozen evaporator coil can lead to water leaks. In addition, a refrigerant leak can also lead to increased humidity levels in your home, as well as a decrease in air quality. Not only that, but it can also cause your energy bills to spike.
As you can see, there are several possible reasons why your AC unit might be leaking water. If you’re dealing with this problem, then it’s important to have a professional AC repair technician take a look at your system as soon as possible. Trying to resolve the issue on your own is usually not a good idea, and it could even make the problem worse.
For more on this, or to learn about any of our air conditioning repairs or replacements, speak to the team at Lee’s Heating and Air today.