Is Your Air Conditioner Leaking Water? 7 Common Causes

The hot months of a Northern California summer mean that your air conditioner is likely working overtime. If your air conditioner is leaking water, you may wonder why and what you can do about it.

Read on to discover some common reasons why you may be dealing with a leaking AC unit and learn what steps you can take to correct the issue.

How and Why Water Forms in Your Air Conditioner

Most modern air conditioning systems have an indoor and outdoor unit. An evaporator coil contained in the inside unit cools the warm air as it blows over it to create a comfortable indoor temperature.

As the warm air blows over the coil, condensation forms — like water droplets forming on a cold glass of water. Those droplets drip into a condensate pan that leads to a PVC drain line that routes the water outside or into an interior drain.

Unfortunately, there may be times when your air conditioner is leaking water inside the house, but there’s no need to panic — chances are, it’s a simple fix.

7 Common Causes of a Leaking Air Conditioner

A leaking air conditioner can cause water damage and overwork your unit, driving up your electricity bill. With California's skyrocketing electricity costs, every effort to conserve energy can save you big money throughout the year. Have a look at some common leaking air conditioner issues and tips on how to prevent them.

1. A clogged condensate drain 

A clogged condensate drain line is one of the most common causes of air conditioner water leakage. Over time, this line can become clogged with algae, dirt, dust, and debris.

When this happens, the line backs up and overflows from the drain pan, causing the water to leak into your home.

You can unclog the drain line by removing the debris with a wet/dry vac. If that doesn’t work, call the professionals at Service Champions for AC repair. We’ll use a specialized, powerful vacuum to remove the blockage and free up the drain line.

2. Damaged condensate drain pan

You could have a rusted or damaged drain pan if your air conditioning system is older. AC units between 12 and 15 years old may need a new pan. Replace the old drain pan to remedy the issue.

3. Frozen evaporator coils

Restricted airflow, low refrigerant levels, or dirty evaporator coils, can all cause the condensate to freeze on your AC unit’s coils. The resulting ice melt can quickly fill the drain pan and lead to water leakage. Monitor your refrigerant levels, keep your evaporator coils clean, and ensure there is adequate airflow to keep your condensate from freezing.

4. Dirty air filter

Did you know that you should change the air filter for your air conditioner every 30 days? A dirty air filter restricts the airflow over the evaporator coil, leading to condensation and water leakage. It can also make your system work harder, resulting in possible damage or worn-out parts.

5. Low refrigerant levels

Low refrigerant levels cause the evaporator coil to become too cold, leading to frozen coils and a wet mess when it thaws. Other signs of low refrigerant levels include gurgling or hissing noises and ineffective cooling.

Have a qualified HVAC technician inspect your system at the beginning of the season and refill the refrigerant as needed.

6. Broken condensate pump

Another potential cause of a leaking AC could be a broken condensate pump. If the unit is installed in the basement, the pump should be pumping water outside.

If your pump is broken, water can’t be pumped outside of the home. Have this part either repaired or replaced as soon as possible to prevent water damage.

7. Improper AC installation

A poorly installed air conditioner or improperly configured condensate drain line results in drainage problems and water leakage. Hiring a qualified professional to install and maintain your system can help prevent this issue.

Say Goodbye to a Leaking Air Conditioning System

Whenever you’re in doubt, it’s best to seek professional help for AC repairs. Leaking air conditioners that go ignored can go from an annoying drip to a potential flood in no time. If you’re unsure why your air conditioner is leaking water, contact the pros at Service Champions for expert AC repair. With the right diagnosis, it’s easy to fix most air conditioner leaks so you can enjoy a cool home all summer.

For more information on our services and how we can help if you’re in the Northern California area, visit Service Champions and contact us today.

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