When water is in places it is not supposed to be in your home, it is cause for concern. Water damage can cause irreparable destruction to a building and create health concerns for those knowingly or unknowingly living around such conditions. Mold poisoning from unaddressed water leaks can cause allergic reactions, dry cough, sore throat, sinus infection, difficulty breathing, asthma, watery eyes, and more.
Often, what has many homeowners concerned is the cost of repairing or replacing items that were damaged due to a water leak. Even small water leaks can cause thousands in damage to floors, carpet, furniture, drywall, and more. As soon as you spot a water leak in your home, it is important to address it right away.
One appliance that you may need to watch out for when it comes to leaks is your air conditioner. These units should not leak when in use. If you do notice liquid around or near the unit, turn your air conditioner off and immediately inspect the area to locate the source of the leak.
If the leak does end up being from the air conditioner, an HVAC technician can evaluate the unit and determine a solution. Many air conditioning leaks are relatively simple fixes, and the technician will be able to provide a quote for repair. Below are a few common reasons why your air conditioner may be leaking.
Blockage in the Drain Line
If you notice water pooling in spots near the drain line, it could be because the water has no other place to go due to a clogged drain line. So, it spills out on your floor instead. These drain lines are responsible for taking humidity out of circulation inside the home. Humidity tends to raise temperatures indoors, so the air conditioner removes it through the drain lines for a faster cooling process throughout the home.
Over time this drain line can become clogged with dirt, mold, or other debris, preventing water from escaping the home. Instead, it may leak out into places it shouldn’t. An HVAC technician will remove the clog using a wet/dry vacuum and make sure the line is secure once more. Luckily, this issue is a simple fix. However, if a clog is ignored, it can lead to even worse problems later on.
If your air conditioning unit is located in your basement, then a pump is likely used to pump the condensation up through the drain line to the outdoors. If this pump breaks, however, then water from the drain line could begin to leak onto the floor. When this happens, a professional will need to install a replacement pump to solve the issue.
Compromised Drain Pan
When a drain line is clogged, it can also prevent the drain pan from completely emptying. A drain pan is designed to collect condensation from the humidity pulled from the air. When this drain pan fills up, it empties into the drain line. If the drain line is clogged, however, the drain pan can spill water onto the floor below. Any amount of water near this part of your unit should be an indication that there may be an issue with the drain pan or drain lines.
Because a drain pan is nearly in constant contact with water, it can rust over time. If your unit is ten years old or older, then it may be at risk for drain pan damage. Rust can create holes, cracks, and other compromises to the pan, which can lead to water leaks around the unit. Again, water near the base of the unit should be a red flag for something wrong with either the pan or drain lines. So, you can check these first when investigating a leak issue.
When the drain pan is the culprit, typically the technician will empty the drain pan and inspect the edges for any gaps. Depending on the state of the drain pan, the technician may use a water sealant to fix the pan or completely replace it if necessary.
Evaporator Coils are Frozen
When you search for “AC maintenance near me” and a technician comes to perform a tune-up on your air conditioner, part of what they will do is clean the evaporator coils. This is because evaporator coils can freeze if too much dust and dirt accumulate on them over time.
The evaporator coils are where heat exchange occurs between the hot air gathered from your home and the coolant from the coolant lines. If the evaporator coils are covered in too much dust, then they can’t pull heat out of the air as well. Meanwhile, the coolant is still cooling the coils, which can create a thin layer of ice over time. Too much ice can lead to water leaks later on.
If you have noticed that your home is taking longer to cool down or your cooling bills are much higher than normal, you may need to inspect the condition of your evaporator coils. While big leaks can cause major damage if ignored, this is an easy fix that shouldn’t cause permanent damage if addressed sooner rather than later.
Another way to prevent frozen coils is to replace the air filter every one to three months and keeping all the vents open throughout the home. A dirty air filter can prevent airflow from reaching the coils, meaning the coils are at risk of freezing. If you see that your coils are indeed frozen, turn off your air conditioning and call a professional right away to assess the situation.
Refrigerant is Leaking or Low
Not all leaks from your air conditioner are as “harmless” as water. If your unit is older, it could be leaking Freon, which is as dangerous to your health as it is to the environment. A hissing or bubbling noise coming from your unit can help you identify if it is leaking refrigerant. When refrigerant is leaking from your unit, it is important to call a professional to come to handle the air conditioning repair.
Leaking refrigerant can also lead to an iced-over coil-like explained above. When your unit is leaking refrigerant, a technician will likely need to replace the line and refill the refrigerant. Refrigerant doesn’t normally need to be refilled, so there may be a leak somewhere if you notice that it is getting low.
What to do When Your AC is Leaking
If a water leak or refrigerant leak is ignored or not addressed in time, the issue can become a lot worse than a small inconvenience. You may be looking at a full air conditioning replacement if the leak causes a complete breakdown. Don’t wait until it is too late to get a leak checked out on your AC.
When you call the professionals at Boulden Brothers, you can expect professional service from a trained and knowledgeable technician. Because leaks don’t always follow a 9 to 5 schedule, we offer our services any time day or night for the same price no matter what. When there is a problem with your AC, we don’t want you to have to suffer in the heat any longer than you have to.
Bottom line, if you notice your air conditioning unit leaking, call a professional right away to come check it out. Most of the time there will be a simple solution that doesn’t require total replacement of your air conditioner. So, there’s no reason not to call a professional today. It could end up saving you from higher energy bills, basic comfort in the heat of summer, or paying thousands more for water damage repairs.
You can prevent most AC leaks by having your unit regularly inspected by a professional. Something as simple as a once per year tune-up can help keep your air conditioner clear from dust and clogs, and the technician will be able to spot any potential issues before they happen. Preventative maintenance will not only help keep you from experiencing an untimely breakdown, but it can also help increase your unit’s lifespan and keep it running as efficiently as possible. This often translates to lower energy costs throughout the summer as well.
Water leaks can be bad news, especially from an air conditioner. Keep your home and the health of your family safe by addressing water leaks as soon as they are spotted. Call a professional to help you determine the cause and find a cost-effective solution today.