Hopefully, if you’ve ever discovered water leaking from your inside air conditioning unit, it’s been a relatively small problem you could keep under control. However, often air conditioner leaks are only discovered after they have already damaged parts of the home, costing in thousands of dollars in water damage repairs.
That’s why you should call an HVAC technician for AC maintenance each year. They can help to prevent problems like this from making your air conditioner work inefficiently, or more importantly, from damaging your walls, flooring, ceiling, cabinets, and more. We can tell you more about why this happens in the guide below, but if you think water is leaking from your AC, contact us right away!
First Things First: Where the Water Comes from
First, we want to talk about where all that water comes from. In case there’s any confusion, your air conditioner does not run on water (unless it’s an evaporative cooler, not common or effective in a humid climate like ours).
Rather, water collects on the indoor coil of your air conditioner as a result of the cooling process. It’s condensation, gathering on the coil as it condenses from the humid air. The indoor coil gets very cool as refrigerant inside of it absorbs heat from the air, and the result is much like the water droplets you would see on the outside of a glass of cold lemonade on a hot day.
The Most Common Source of Leaking
Luckily, this water has somewhere to drain. The most common reason for an air conditioner leak has to do with this drainage system failing. And the reason it commonly fails is because dirt and debris clog up the condensate drain that leads to the outdoors.
This is something that’s so preventable. Cleaning out the condensate line is an important part of routine AC maintenance, but few homeowners realize this until water is leaking into their homes. If you do not know how to check and clean the condensate line on your own, call a technician!
When Condensate Freezes and Thaws
Another potential reason for a leaky AC unit is ice thawing from the unit. You might think that ice is typical or that an air conditioner should be expected to freeze if it’s cooling your home. On the contrary, a frozen coil spells trouble.
Freezing interferes with heat exchange, the process that is actually responsible for cooling the air (otherwise known as refrigeration). When it is frozen, the evaporator coil cannot help refrigerant to absorb heat, which is its purpose!
In addition, so much water can flow into the condensate pan underneath the unit that it overflows overflow due to the high volume and rate of water. You cannot just scrape the ice off and hope for the best; you must address the source of the problem.
Some Other Condensate Troubles
There are a couple of other potential issues that could stem from a faulty condensate system.
- The tray underneath the evaporator coil can get knocked out of place.
- The tray may not have been installed or angled correctly at installation.
- Some homes need a condensate pump to help control the flow.
Call an AC technician for a maintenance visit to address these issues early and prevent them from damaging your home!