Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric Blog: Posts Tagged ‘HVAC maintenance’

What Makes Water Leaks in Air Conditioners

Thursday, May 5th, 2022

One of the shortcomings of owning an air conditioner is paying for repairs and being on the watch for issues that could wreck and make it fail untimely. One of the issues that rarely happen but have consequential effects on the performance of your air conditioner is water leaks. An air conditioner must not leak unless it has faults. If your air conditioner leaks, you may be looking at a problem that requires hundreds of dollars to repair. Water leaks in air conditioners don’t just happen. When your AC leaks, it signifies an underlying problem that needs professional attendance. Stay tuned to know why air conditioners leak water.

Clogged AC Drain Line

Air conditioner water leaks are customarily linked to clogs in the drain line. It’s a reality that when the drain line gets clogged, water will leak, especially because the humidity from your indoor air won’t be drained efficiently. The drain line’s core role is to make certain humidity formed inside the unit is drained out efficiently. And if by mistake, the unit cannot remove the humidity because of faults or clogging, you will witness water leaking from the sides or below the air conditioner.

Drain line clogs are typical AC issues primarily because the drainpipe handles most of the mess from the exterior unit. If the drain line is not cleaned regularly, the mess may build up to cause clogs. A drain line gets clogged for various reasons, including dust and dirt buildup. Once the drain line has a clog, water drainage will be hindered, causing backup and leaks. Even though drain line clogs are common, they are not as complicated to solve. In fact, with a plumber’s snake or wet-dry vacuum, your technician can have the issue resolved promptly.

Freezing of the Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil may not be one of the AC parts you see and talk about regularly, but that doesn’t make it insignificant. Once the evaporator coil suffers a blow, it will directly affect the air conditioning unit. The evaporator coil is tasked with cooling down the air conditioner’s refrigerant. It has been programmed to extract heat from your home’s air and transmit the heat into the condenser coil in the outdoor unit.

When the evaporator coil gets covered by dirt or dust, making it strain to exchange heat between the refrigerant and indoor air, it will become cold, and ice will form around it. If such an issue is not noticed and sorted with uttermost urgency, the ice will collect around the whole system. And as the temperatures rise, causing the ice to melt, water will be released, which may drip from the unit. A frozen evaporator coil risks the performance and health of your air conditioner, so endeavor to have the problem troubleshot by an expert the quickest you can.

Insufficient Refrigerant

Insufficient refrigerant may also cause leaks in your air conditioning unit. Air conditioners rely on the refrigerant to operate but consume it at a low rate. Indeed, the refrigerant may take twelve to twenty-four months before it’s exhausted. When the refrigerant reduces to an extremely low rate, your AC will start producing a bubbling or hissing sound. The refrigerant helps the air conditioner effectively extract heat from the distributed indoor air.

When the refrigerant level reduces, the unit won’t have the capacity to extract heat from the indoor air. That would make your air conditioner unable to cool your indoor space and possibly trigger the formation of ice around your evaporator coil. And you know, when the ice starts melting, the water will be expelled out through all openings in the air conditioner. So if you notice water leaks in your air conditioner, the culprit could be a lack of sufficient refrigerant.

Filthy Air Filters

Water leaks from the air conditioner when the unit has an issue with filthy air filters. Air filters are supposed to be changed often, especially at a pace of thirty days if you have pets or 90 days if you don’t have pets. It’s not mandatory to keep track of the age and condition of the air filters if you invest in the smart air filters that let you know when they are due for changing.

When the air filters get filthy, they force the air conditioner to overdrive, making it inefficient and unreliable. A dirty air filter can also affect airflow to the evaporator coil, which increases the risk of the evaporator coil freezing. Over time, the ice formed around the coil will melt, leading to water overflowing in the drain pan. Excess water flow will often lead to water leaking into every hole in the air conditioner that penetrates outdoors.

Rusty or Damaged Drain Pan

Another popular cause of water leakage in your air conditioner is a damaged or rusty drain pan. The drain pan is responsible for holding moisture collected from the moisture extracted from the air flowing in your home. Once the moisture has collected into the drain pan, it’s pushed into the drainpipe and later the outdoor unit. It’s the responsibility of the drain pain to contain the moisture and prevent it from dripping into the interior unit to trigger leaking.

The drain pan is shallow and won’t hold much water, so if the drain line has a clog, it may overflow and cause leaking. And as you know, water that leaks out of the drain pain will flow into your home. Similarly, when the drain pan is old or gets damaged, it won’t contain the water channeled through it, meaning it will allow it to leak into the interior AC unit. An old and damaged drain pan may develop cracks and holes that allow water to flow out.

Damaged Condensate Pump

Finally, your air conditioning unit will leak when the condensate pump develops issues. Condensate pumps are installed in your air conditioner to facilitate smooth water drainage from the drain pan. By default, an air conditioner does not have a gravity-supported design that allows water to flow from the drain pan to the exterior by itself. Whether your air conditioner is installed in an attic or basement, it won’t drain out the water on its own.

That is why air conditioners have a centrifugal pump to assist in pushing water out of the interior unit into the exterior unit. That works such that when the condensate moved through the evaporator coil hits a specified level of the pump tank, it will activate the float switch and then the centrifugal pump. In an unfortunate situation where the pump is faulty, water won’t be pushed out. It will overfill the drain pan causing leaks.

These are air conditioner issues that lead to water leaking from the indoor unit. These are issues beyond the knowledge of a homeowner, so it’s advised when you discover them to call our qualified HVAC experts at Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric. We have a long-established reputation as a top provider of top-tier air conditioner repair, installation, and maintenance services in Central & Metro West Massachusetts. Our experienced team works closely with our clients to establish custom and robust solutions to all air conditioner-related problems. Whether you want to install a new system, repair a leaky unit or service the AC to keep it working optimally, consulting Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric is the best decision to make. Call us now for free quotes!

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