It’s a bit of a shock to walk out the door and discover the AC condenser unit is leaking water. It is equally disturbing to find the air conditioner is leaking water inside the house whenever it is left running for several hours. Even if the late spring checkup on your system was recently done, the right move to make is likely calling a professional air conditioning specialist right away. However, cooling systems are known to expel some water from time to time when they are operating. The tip is knowing why and when too much water is dripping or constantly leaking out. Following are five common things that cause leaks and indicate it is time to call a licensed HVAC technician for assistance.
1. It’s too cold outside for the unit to be running. The sunshine hitting the window panes may cause the inside of your home to be uncomfortably warm, even though it’s below 60 degrees outside. There’s a system of balance when operating the air conditioner. Running the AC when it is cold outside can cause the cooling coils to ice up. That, in turn, causes leaking from the air conditioner.
2. The drain line is disconnected. Air conditioners aren’t always installed correctly. The vibrations from the motor and fan gradually cause the drain line to loosen. The pipe ends up disconnecting from inside the air conditioner. Leaking water is the result.
3. Air filters need cleaned or changed. Just like the air filter in your truck or car, the filter in your air conditioning unit gathers dust and debris. That keeps it from being recirculated through the house and collecting on operating parts of the AC. When the filter is dirty, airflow is restricted over the evaporator coils. The coils freeze over because restricted airflow causes them to get too cold. The melting ice drips into the condensate pan. As the moisture builds up, it causes an overflow of water.
4. A clogged condensate drain can cause a leak. What causes condensate drains to clog? Several things build in the drain over time, such as algae, dirt, and rust. The resulting partial blockage or clog often results in a leak. Your air conditioner’s condensate pan could rust out and crack, breaking the seal around the drain pan. The result? Water leaks from the AC unit.
5. Low refrigerant levels reduce pressure. Low pressure caused by insufficient refrigerant levels results in iced up evaporator coils. It typically results in the drain pan overflowing, causing leaks.
Small amounts of condensation near the drain pipe is common. Your setting of your thermostat and the outside temperature are two factors that cause leakage. The air conditioner works harder during overly humid and/or hot days, resulting in a larger discharge of water. A small puddle beneath the condensing unit is seldom cause for alarm. If water continues to drip during the next 24 hours, call an HVAC professional in your area to inspect and service the unit before any damage is done.