Have you noticed water collecting around your Air conditioning unit inside or outside of your home or business, but not sure why? This is a list of the top 10 reasons that your AC unit may be leaking water inside or outside of your residential or commercial property in 2017-2018.
The first thing you should do is turn your unit off as the water can cause damages to the electrical parts, wiring and your home too. The second thing to do is contact a professional AC repair company to assist you because leaking water from the unit can be more confusing than expected.
There is often condensation created from the units dehumidifying process, but collected water and leaking is a different thing. There are several things that can cause this, and to have an efficiently running unit, all of them should be checked out.
You can sometimes determine the cause by the EPA site, and there are ways you can make your home even more energy efficient as well. By examining your AC unit and doing a few tests, you may be able to locate the source of the problem. While there are situations where a professional will need to be contacted, there are some things you can repair yourself as well.
What type of AC water leakage is to be expected?
When it comes to the condensation, there are a couple different things that can factor in:
- Outdoor temperatures
- Thermostat Settings
It is normal for condensation to be around the drain pipe, this is a common sign of the AC unit being hard at work, even more so on hot and humid days. Additionally, if there is a collection of water under the units condenser, then it is probably normal operations at work.
When is it too much water?
When it comes to the AC unit functioning as expected, or when repairs are needed, there can be a fine line, and this is even more true when you are unsure of the amount of water leakage that is normal. When operating as normal, the AC unit should only produce/leak when in use as it creates condensation. A small puddle is normal, and should dry up on hot days.
However, if the lead is consistent and lasts throughout the day, or longer it can be a sign a repair is needed. In this situation it is a good idea to call in a professional AC contractor.
Below are some common issues that could cause the leakage.
Water is forming in the indoor central AC unit
One of the jobs an air conditioner does is pull the humidity out of the air. The blower inside the unit pulls the hot and humid air in, the hot air travels through the return grill, then over the cold evaporator coil to cool it down. In this situation, just like ice water on a hot day, the evaporator coil creates condensation.
When the water forms around the evaporator coil, in goes into a sloped drain and goes down the condensate drain line. The drain line is generally made from PVC and exits outside by the outdoor unit, or into the plumbing.
Alright, now you know the basic concept of how the parts work together and how a normal amount of water is created. If a problem occurs with any of these parts, it can cause the excessive amount of water to form and collect.
The following are 10 reasons your AC unit could be leaking excessive amounts of water, if you want to try and understand what’s going on before calling the professionals, keep on reading.
Top 10 common reasons for leaking AC units in 2017-2018:
Broken Condenser Pump
The first thing you should look into is the condenser pump as it could be broke. To test if it is the condenser pump, you can pour water into the condenser pan, if it works the excess should be pumped out properly. If it’s not able to pump the excess out, check to make sure the pump is getting power. If it gets power, then it’s probably the motor or condenser. A professional should be contacted to determine which it is for sure, and correct it.
Note: It is possible that the AC unit leaks more water because the unit was incorrectly installed, such as not being level or having too much pressure.
AC Unit Installed Incorrectly
AC Units can leak when they have been installed incorrectly. If it is installed so it’s not level, for example. Too much pressure build up can also cause a leak. To determine either of these, start by checking if the unit is level. If it is level, then look for closed vents around your house as this can cause added pressure on the unit.
It is common for newer AC units to have an installation problem over something else. A condensate trap that was improperly designed can prevent drainage as well, causing water to build up and overflow.
A professional will be able to examine the trap to make sure it is correctly designed and installed.
Blocked Drain Line Hole
Your unit has a drain hole for the removed water, and it can get clogged up. You should examine the tube to make sure dirt or debris did not get in and block it, if there is simply remove it and water should begin exiting again.
Blocked or rusted condensate drainage line
If the drain line has been blocked, the water is not able to escape and has only one way to go, back into the home. Things such as dirt, mold, insects, or anything small can cause a blockage. In some situations there is a second drain line, but this can also become blocked.
You can use a wet-dry vacuum to remove the blockage from the outside condensate PVC pipe. But, there are a couple ways you can go about cleaning out the condensate line, and a product called the Mighty Pump is a favorite.
The Mighty Pump is a hand pump that has power to such or blow the lines and free the blockage. Stuart Oakner created this neat tool, he is a licensed AC contractor with 30+ years of experience. It runs about $60 online.
Instead of waiting until it’s already clogged, you can prevent clogging or expensive repairs by keeping it cleaned. When you keep it clean, you can also use chlorine bleach to prevent build up of mildew, algae, slime and other bacteria by pouring it in the line a few times a year.
Also, a dirty evaporator coil could be the main cause of the issue. This happens when the water moves dirt into the pan, and causes the drain to get clogged up. You should have the coil cleaned annually by a professional, as part of the yearly AC maintenance.
If the drain pan is becoming rushed it can fall into your floor, causing damage to the home, it is important to replace them.
Note: AC units can have a secondary drain pan for catching water, these have a float switch that will automatically turn your AC unit off to prevent water damages.
Cold Weather Temperatures Outside
When the weather outside changes, it can affect the AC unit and when it starts to get to cold out, it can cause excess water too. More water means it will overflow and collect, and because it’s not as hot out it takes longer to dry up. If the pool of water is small, it could be normal and may not require anything. Once the temperature outside goes up, it should dry up.
The AC Seals are Bad
If the AC unit has seals that are not properly fitted anymore, such as being lose or just gone bad, it can allow to much hot air to enter. When the warm air hits the cold air in the unit, it condenses and creates the excess water to collect under the unit. By resealing the unit, this can be corrected.
In the situation of bad or loose seals, the extra warm air entering the unit and condensing with the cold air creates moisture and a pool of water under the unit. Resealing the outdoor unit can correct this and make things close properly, but the water leakage is not the only bad thing that can occur, and it’s not even the worst.
It is important to take care of the seals because it can reduce the efficiency of the unit, meaning you are not getting the temperature indoors that you want, and paying more than needed. If you simply don’t feel like doing the examining to find the problem, call in a professional.
Colder Temperatures Outside
As mentioned in a previous step, it is normal for the water to collect and overflow during colder weather. Once it heats up again, the water should evaporate as usual.
Air Filters Get Dirty
One of the more neglected aspects of the AC unit is the air filters. When they get dirty it causes the airflow to become blocked, and not as much air can hit the evaporator coil. This causes the coil to become to cold and causes it to freeze up. When melting, the excess water falls and the drain pan may not be designed to hold that much water.
The first thing you should do if the unit is freezing up, check your filter. If it’s dirty, change it out for a new one. Depending on the season, it’s recommended to change it out eery 1-3 months.
Evaporator Coil is Frozen
To determine if your evaporator coil is freezing over, open the blower door located inside the AC Unit, can you see ice? If so, the water could be caused by the melting of this ice and the drainage pan not being able to handle the amount of water created, especially if it is freezing, thawing and freezing repeatedly.
When it comes to ice on the evaporator coil, there are two causes:
Dirty air filter: As previously mentioned, when the filter is dirty it will lower the warm airflow access to the coil and causes it to get to cold and freeze. To correct, simply change the filter.
Low on refrigerant: When the refrigerant level is lower than it should be, it can cause the evaporator coil to become too cold, and it freezes.
How to Defrost:
First, turn off the AC unit and turn on the blower (from ‘auto’ to the ‘on’ position). This allows the fan to melt the ice in a time frame the pan should be able to handle it.
Meanwhile, it is a good idea to call a professional AC contractor to examine and make sure the unit is working properly and for any possible damages.
When vents get closed or blocked it can cause excessive pressure on the unit that becomes an issue and causes the unit to begin leaking water. Explore your home for any closed vents to be sure they are not blocked or closed.
So, you now know 10 reasons your AC unit could be leaking, below are 9 additional methods to help prevent water damages from occurring due to leaking units.
Additional Causes for AC Unit Water Leaks
- Drain line moved or not positioned down
- Unplugged condensate pump
- Boiler drain leaking
- Clogged floor drain
- Improper condensate pump
- Blocked drain, trap or pan
- Pump tubing blocked
- Evaporator coil faulty or dirty
- Malfunction causing indoor coil to freeze
- Condensate pan cracked
- Tubing kinked
- Humidifier leaking or overflowing
- Broken joints, pipe or fittings
9 Methods for Avoiding Leaky AC Unit Water Damages in 2017-2018
The following tips can be used for reducing the chances of water damages:
- Ensure that the central AC system is installed using a secondary drain line, more so if the unit is in the attic.
- Have drain pan shutoff switch installed, and equip it with a float.
- Ensure AC unit is installed with a safety pan to catch overflow.
- Regularly clean HVAC filter or change it out.
- Ensure correctly insulated duct work.
- Regularly check on AC refrigerant levels.
- Use a 50/50 solution of water and bleach to prevent mold or mildew build up in condensate pump.
- Ensure drain lines include an air vent and p-trap.
- Have a yearly HVAC maintenance schedule to ensure best performance while minimizing AC and furnace repairs.
After reading, if you are still unable to determine the cause for your leaking water, contact AcandRerigeration today and don’t wait for water damage to occur.
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