If you’ve ever noticed your AC’s outside condenser unit leaking water or noticed a puddle of water indoors near your inside unit, then you may be wondering if that’s normal, and, if not, what might be causing the water leakage. Some water leakage is normal, especially when your AC unit runs for an extended amount of time in harsh weather conditions. It’s important, however, to first understand just how much leakage is normal so that you’ll know whether to call a professional HVAC technician for help.
How Much Is Too Much AC Water Leakage?
As it runs, your air conditioning unit produces small amounts of condensation. You’ll likely notice this condensation near the AC’s drain pipe, which is perfectly normal and to be expected. On very hot and humid days, when your AC runs for extended periods of time, or if your AC’s thermostat setting is very low, you’ll notice more condensation than normal, and it may drip to form a small pool of water.
If the leakage forms large pools of water or continues for more than a couple of days, your HVAC is likely operating inefficiently due to a technical problem.
It’s important to distinguish that the air conditioning leak is indeed water and not refrigerant. If there’s any doubt, contact a professional HVAC technician immediately.
Common Problems That Cause Air Conditioner Water Leakage
There are several HVAC repairs that could be causing your HVAC water leakage. Remember, to always turn your air conditioning unit off before attempting to self-inspect it for the source of any water leak. Let’s look at seven of the most likely culprits:
1. Obstructed Condensate Drain Line
The condensation drain is the small line that your HVAC unit uses to get rid of all the humidity it extracts from the air. If working properly, condensation runs down the drain and exits your home without incident.
A clogged condensation drain is one of the most common causes of air conditioner water leaks. Condensation drains can become partially blocked or completely clogged as dirt, mold, sediment, insects, algae, rust, and other foreign debris collect in the line to slow condensation removal.
As a result of the clog, the water backs up in the drain pan under the air handler. If left unattended, the overflowing drain pain can allow water to pool and potentially damage your home.
2. Disconnected Drain Line
Another common air conditioner drain line issue is a disconnect, which also allows water to leak from your HVAC unit and potentially damage your property. This most commonly happens as HVAC units age. The drain line pipe loosens from wear and tear and disconnects from its connection. This can also happen when newer HVAC units weren’t installed properly, and the drain line prematurely disconnects.
3. Cracked Drain Line
With wear and tear, your AC’s condensate drain line may crack. This is often due to rusting and corrosion, stress, or accidental impact. It causes the drain pan to lose its seal, which results in water leaking from the unit. The rate of a leak often depends on the size of the crack, ranging from a slow drip to a steady outflow.
4. Weather Conditions
As mentioned above, your HVAC unit works very hard in humid, hot temperatures, but there’s also an issue with running your AC in cooler temperatures. Some people living in areas with milder winters like to run their AC throughout seasonal changes, especially when the days are warmer and evenings are cooler.
The problem here is that running your air conditioner when outdoor temps drop below 60 degrees is that the cooling coils often freeze up. This will certainly cause your HVAC unit to leak copious amounts of water.
5. Dirty Air Filters
The evaporator coils in your AC rely upon having free airflow as air passes over them. When your air conditioner’s air filter is dirty from dust and other debris, the flow of air can be greatly restricted and cause the coils to get too cold. This freezes them over. The frost eventually melts and drips into the condensate pan, which can then easily overflow and cause water damage.
6. Low Refrigerant Levels
It’s very important to keep refrigerant levels in your air conditioner at the recommended level. Low levels of refrigerant cause the amount of air pressure in your HVAC unit to drop. Like the dirty air filter issue, the drop in air pressure can easily cause the evaporator coils to freeze over. The drain pain overflows as the frost melts.
7. Cracked Drip Pan
Just as your air conditioner line can rust and corrode over time, your drip pan itself may rust and crack. Without a secure drip pan, even normal amounts of HVAC condensation is left to run amuck through holes and cracks.
In closing, it’s always prudent to have a professional Corpus Christi air conditioning repair company inspect, maintenance, and/or repair your air conditioning unit anytime you notice pooling water, especially if it persists for more than a day or two or occurs frequently. Water leaks aren’t just signals that your AC isn’t running efficiently, which is likely running your electric bill up and limiting its effectiveness at cooling your home or business, the effects of pooling water can cause significant structural damage to your property if left unattended. It’s also a serious health risk from the potential for dangerous mold growth.