5 Reasons Why Your Air Conditioner Could Leak Water

Articles

Water leaks are one of the most common problems homeowners face with their air conditioning systems. This often comes as a shock to those who associate water leaks with plumbing problems. There are plenty of reasons why you could suddenly find a pool of water around your A/C unit. The following takes an in-depth look at 5 common reasons for A/C water leaks.

Reason #1: Overflowing Drain Pan

As the evaporator coil removes heat from the surrounding air, it also causes water vapor to condense and fall into the drain pan below the coil. It's possible for the water to collect inside of the drain pan until it overflows and spills out onto the floor below.

Drain pan overflow issues are commonly caused by blockages in the drain line. Making sure your drain line is clear of sediment, algae and other debris can help prevent overflow issues. Disinfecting your drain pan on a regular basis can also help keep your drain line clear.

It's also a good idea to check the drain pan itself for any signs of damage or wear. For drain pans made from plastic materials, carefully check for cracks and other signs of material fatigue. For metal drain pans, check for signs of rust and corrosion as well as physical damage.

Reason #2: Disconnected Drain Line

A broken or disconnected drain line can cause condensate to fall short of your home's drainage outlet, resulting in a pool of water near the source of the break. Leaks can also stem from poorly fitted PVC joints. It's a good idea to visually inspect the drain line in its entirety for cracks, incomplete connections and loose joints. Most repairs can be done by simply replacing the affected section of pipe or properly cementing loose joint connections.

Reason #3: Low Refrigerant Charge

A low refrigerant charge could also lead to water leaks in your A/C system. Counter-intuitively, as A/C system pressures drop due to a lack of refrigerant, it can also cause temperatures around the evaporator coil to fall below the freezing point. This can cause ice to form on the coil. The unit can become so packed with ice that it shuts down to allow the ice to melt. Large amounts of ice melt can overwhelm the drain pan, leading to water leaks throughout the A/C system.

The best way to prevent this problem from happening is to have your HVAC contractor check your A/C unit's refrigerant charge on an annual basis. It'll also give your contractor an opportunity to check for refrigerant leaks throughout the system.

Reason #4: Missing P-Trap

The P-trap is a unique P-shaped bend (hence the name) that allows water to flow out of the drain pan during periods of negative air flow. Without it, the A/C unit could accidentally suck air through the drain line and prevent water from draining out of the pan. This can also cause the water within the drain pan to overflow.

It's not uncommon for HVAC contractors to forget about installing a P-trap in the drain line. If you don't see a P-trap, you may want to have your contractor install one to prevent further drainage issues.

Reason #5: Dirty Air Filter

Believe it or not, your A/C air filter could have a lot to do with your water leak issue. Your A/C system requires a steady flow of air in order to function properly. As your air filter steadily collects dust and debris, it becomes harder for air to pass through the filter. Once the air filter becomes completely clogged with dust and debris, it becomes impossible for air to pass through. Once this happens, the evaporator coil begins to freeze over due to the lack of air flow. As it thaws out, the melted water may drip around the unit.

The best way to prevent this problem from happening is to change your air filter on a regular basis. Most experts recommend changing the air filter at least once every 3 months. Others recommend air filter changes on a monthly basis for achieving optimal HVAC performance and indoor air quality.

If you can't work out why your HVAC system is leaking on your own, don't hesitate to reach out to a local professional, such as Mike's Bremen Service Inc. 

Share

7 March 2016

Streamline Your HVAC System

As a DIY enthusiast, I started doing everything I could to make my household appliances more effective then ever before. I insulated my attic, worked on cleaning the vents around my kitchen appliances, and eventually turned my attention to my air conditioner and furnace. Unfortunately, the process of taking care of my HVAC system was more intense than I had originally anticipated. I realized that I needed to read about air conditioners and furnaces before I started tinkering around. I made this blog to showcase all kinds of different articles that talk about HVAC, so that you can become a more informed homeowner.