Air conditioners play an essential role in our homes during the hot and humid summer season. These valuable appliances keep our homes comfortable and well ventilated, which makes them livable during the sweltering heat of the summer months.
However, air conditioners do develop problems because of numerous reasons like constant usage, poor maintenance, and changing weather patterns, among others. These issues can make your air conditioner malfunction.
Now, one of the most common air conditioner issues that most people deal with is leaking and dripping liquids. A leaking air conditioner can cause sleepless nights for homeowners, especially if the appliance’s performance is affected. However, it’s important to note that not all air conditioner leaks signify a major problem. At times, they are caused by issues that you can solve on your own.
But you should never let a leaking air conditioner go unattended. Leaking ACs can damage walls, ceilings, and anything surrounding it. So, if your air conditioner is leaking, deal with the issue immediately before the problem gets out of control.
Why does water form inside your air conditioner?
Modern air conditioners come with indoor and outdoor units. The indoor unit has an evaporator coil, which cools the hot air as it blows over it, thus creating cool, conditioned air. Now, as the hot air blows over the evaporator coil, condensation begins to form. Think of how water droplets form outside a glass when you pour cold water inside—that’s what happens on an evaporator coil.
Now, as the moisture continues to build, it drips into a drain pan and then flown into a condensate drain pipe. This pipe drains the water outside your home, meaning you shouldn’t deal with the issue of a leaking air conditioner in your home.
However, there are times when you will find your AC leaking water in your home. However, this shouldn’t alarm you at all.
In case you notice signs of water under your indoor air handler, turn off your AC immediately at the circuit breaker box, and then check for the following possible issues:
- Dirty filter – all air conditioners are fitted with an air filter, which filters out dust from the atmosphere and allows the AC to supply clean air to your home. These filters, however, require regular cleaning for the unit to function optimally. At times, the filter can accumulate dirt and become clogged, which can cause the evaporator coils in your AC to freeze. This, in turn, leads to excess water, which ends up spilling indoors.
- Damaged condensate tray – a condensate tray collects the condensed water in your AC. However, if the tray is broken, damaged, or rusted, water can easily seep through it and leak into your home when your unit is running.
- Clogged or blocked drain pipe – a drain pipe helps to drain the condensed water out of your air conditioner. Now, if this pipe is clogged or blocked, water starts to accumulate, and eventually back up into your system, causing water to drip from your AC.
- Improper AC installation – if your air conditioner is leaking, and yet it’s new or it’s just been serviced, there’s a chance that it’s not installed properly. Faulty or improper AC installation can cause your system to start leaking. In case there’s a gap between the condensate tray and unit or the drainpipe is exposed, your unit might start to leak condensed water. Therefore, always make sure that your air conditioner is installed properly before you start running it.
- Low refrigerant level – always make sure that your AC has the right amount of refrigerant. If the refrigerant levels dip below the recommended level, the pressure of your air conditioner will fall. This can cause the evaporator coils to freeze, which can cause water to seep out. Therefore, always check if the refrigerant level is OK, and if not so, let an experienced AC expert top it up to the ideal level.
- Broken pump – an air conditioner’s condensation pump is located beneath the cooling coil. The primary function of the pump is to drain water out of our unit, which prevents water from leaking. If the pump is malfunctioning or broken because of dirt or debris, it can cause water to leak out of your air conditioner—and this is a clear sign that your condensation pump is faulty.
- Lack of proper maintenance – just like with any other appliance in your home, your air conditioner requires proper and regular maintenance. This should be done by a certified AC technician. Hiring an AC technician to work on your air conditioner can prevent issues like faulty evaporator coils, blocked drain lines, damaged condensate tray, and low refrigerant levels, among other problems that might cause your air conditioner to leak. If you fail to schedule maintenance regularly, you should get ready to deal with issues of a leaking air-conditioner occasionally.
According to the experts from Hartman’s air conditioning repair company, the techniques and methods discussed above require a lot of expertise and care. At times, you might be forced to contact an AC technician to help you in resolving these issues, especially if you are not a DIY enthusiast. All in all, if you want to get proper care for your AC and prevent possible leaks, make sure that you choose a reputable AC technician.