On the average day, your air conditioner or heat pump pulls gallons of water from your indoor air and sends it outside through a built-in condensate drain. Seeing any evidence of water leakage tells you there's a problem somewhere in the system. By learning some troubleshooting strategies, you can get it fixed quickly or know when to call for professional help. Here's what can cause a leaking air conditioner and what to do about it.
Condensate Pan Issues
Normally, a drainage pan situated at the bottom of the air handler cabinet collect condensate as it drips off the evaporator coil. If that pan is cracked, rusted-through or missing, you'll find a water puddle underneath the cabinet. This is easy to fix by replacing the pan.
Dirty Air Filter
A badly clogged air filter that restricts crucial system airflow can cause the evaporator coil to freeze up. When it thaws, all the extra water can make a mess when it overflows the condensate pan. Replacing the filter can usually solve this problem and checking it once a month and changing it regularly can prevent future issues.
If you discover pooling water and an iced-up evaporator coil but the filter looks fine, do some detective work. Listen for a hissing noise coming from the lines or coil, then call an HVAC pro because this is a sign of a refrigerant leak that can cause significant component damage if it's not fixed promptly.
Drainage System Blockage
If mold or algae grows unchecked in the warm, moist condensate drain system, it can plug the lines and cause a damaging water backup. To fix this, use a wet/dry vac to suction out the blockage, then flush the line using a solution of half bleach, half warm water.
Condensate Pump Failure
If your system has a condensate pump and it fails, you can end up with a leaking air conditioner. This is one problem that to be investigated and fixed by a knowledgeable HVAC professional.
Visit Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical for in-depth information on most HVAC topics, or just give us a call (408) 868-5500.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).