What To Do When Water Leaks from your Air Conditioner
Over a hot southern Missouri summer, your home’s cooling system is working hard to keep your house cool. It is heating up outside, yet we want our homes to stay cool and comfortable no matter what the outside temperature is. It can be a busy time for us at Jon Wayne Heating & Air with our techs working overtime to make sure Missouri homes stay cool and safe from the heat.
If you’ve been handling the regular maintenance for it, your conditioner should be able to keep up with your additional cooling demands. Those basic maintenance steps like regularly changing your air filter are essential to your home’s system working well every year. But even if that regular maintenance happens, problems can still pop up, especially if you have an older AC.
One problem that is hard to ignore is when your cooling system is leaking water. It’s good that this is one that is hard to miss as an AC leaking water a problem you should not ignore.
The water leaking from your AC can cause damage to your home. Not only that, whatever is causing the leak may be a problem that will only get worse (and more difficult and expensive to fix) if left ignored.
Once you notice a leak, you may first think you need to call a plumber. However, if the water issue is coming from your home’s heating and cooling system, then an HVAC technician will be able to stop the leak and make sure you have a system working correctly and safely in your home.
How can you tell if it’s a plumbing issue or a leaking air conditioning system?
The first thing to look for is where you see the leaking water.
- Is the water in your basement?
- Do you have a leak coming down from your attic?
If the water is in one of these places, you are likely dealing with a leaky AC system.
Why Is There Water in Your AC?
Your air conditioner creates water naturally. As your system works to cool and dehumidify your home, moisture pulled from the air gathers inside your AC system. It collects into a large drain pan that is usually hidden from view. This water is then directed from your air conditioner to go down a drain line.
A Basement Puddle
Something our Jon Wayne AC technicians are sometimes called to handle in the middle of summer is a puddle that has formed at the bottom of the furnace. However, the problem isn’t with the furnace. The water is likely dripping from the indoor unit of your air conditioning system next to your furnace.
Water Leak from Ceiling
Is the water dripping down your ceiling? If your HVAC system is in your attic and this drip is happening right below your system, then the water may be coming from your AC.
What Should You Do When You Find an AC Leak?
If you feel able to handle a level of minor HVAC repair, you can try troubleshooting potential problems causing the leak. You may find that you can fix it yourself.
To fix the leak, you need to determine what is causing it. Water dripping from a cooling unit could happen for a few different reasons.
1. Your Air Filter is Dirty
Check to see if you have a dirty air filter and replace it with a clean one. If this step solves your problem, then it’s time to reassess your air filter changing schedule. How often you have been changing it may not be frequent enough for your home’s needs.
2. The Condensate Drain Line is Clogged
This is not a task many homeowners will want to handle themselves. While you can try to unclog a condensate drain line with a wet/dry vac, a professional HVAC technician will have specific tools designed to clear out whatever is blocking that particular line.
3. Your Condensate Pump is Broken
An AC system with a unit installed in the basement often has a condensate pump moving the water that is gathering to a floor drain or sink. If it breaks down or becomes clogged, a condensate pump will stop pumping that water out of your home.
You can try troubleshooting this problem yourself. Disconnect the drain line and empty the water out. Remove the check valve and then plug the pump back in to see if it works. If not, you may want to replace the condensate pump. You can typically purchase one from your local hardware store. If the condensate pump does start working after removing the check valve, then the problem is likely with that valve. You can try cleaning it before reattaching, or you can replace it.
4. The Drain Pan is Damaged
Check to see if your drain pan is rusted or visibly damaged. Depending on the system you have, the pan may be replaced. However, this isn’t usually easy as the pan is often hard to access. Contact Jon Wayne Heating & Air for service, and we will replace the pan.
5. The Refrigerant Level is Low
An air conditioner running low on refrigerant creates a variety of problems. It can cause the evaporator coil to freeze, which can then melt and overflow the drain pan. Call us to check your system. We will evaluate your refrigerant level and replace any that is needed.
If you cannot fix the problem, call a licensed HVAC technician. A trained technician will know how to detect the source of the leak and fully resolve the problem. Professional AC technicians, like those on our team at Jon Wayne Heating & Air, are trained in handling drain line issues like this.
Preventing an Air Conditioner Water Leak
Much of what can cause an AC system to leak are preventable problems. Regular maintenance and tune-ups of your air conditioning system reveal signs of issues early on. Catching and solving problems early can prevent your home’s heating & cooling system from breaking down or damaging your home with a water leak.
Other common air conditioner problems to read more about:
- AC Making Weird Sounds
- AC Drain Line System Maintenance
- AC Thermostat Issues
- Wrong Size AC (Bigger Isn’t Always Better)