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Why Is My HVAC System Leaking Water?

While it’s normal for a healthy, well-maintained AC to create a bit of condensation on hot summer days, seeing a puddle or excessive dripping are both causes for alarm. When water pools around the unit, it can damage the device and threaten your home’s foundation and landscaping. For those reasons, it’s crucial to begin troubleshooting a leaky air conditioner right away. Here at Hometown Heating, Air & Electric, we’ve seen countless leaky cooling units over the years. Sometimes the issue is a matter of simple maintenance, but other cases require specialized repair work. The following are some of the most common causes of HVAC system leaks.

Dirty Air Filter

Your cooling system contains an air filter that needs to be regularly freshened up to allow for good, healthy airflow. Dirty air filters can lead to inadequate ventilation, which can cause the unit’s evaporator coils to freeze. As the coils thaw, water from melted ice will accumulate in the drip pan and sometimes overflow. Try replacing the air filter to see if it resolves the issue. If the problem persists, a technician from Hometown Heating, Air & Electric can inspect the system for damage.

Dirty Evaporator Coil

Dirty evaporator coils can also cause AC water drainage issues. When evaporator coils are clean, water can drip naturally down into the drip pan or condensate line. However, dirty coils can redirect the water flow, causing it to splash down to the concrete slab below. For that reason, this issue is usually characterized by a series of small drips around the unit as opposed to a large puddle. Evaporator coil cleaning is typically included in a standard AC tune-up.

Blocked Condensate Drain

Located near the bottom of your AC is a tube called the condensate drain. When everything is functioning normally, gravity carries water runoff down into a flat drip pan and then into the condensate drain. The drain leads to a pipe that allows for water to travel safely away from the cooling unit. However, if the drain gets clogged, the water has nowhere to go and will instead overflow the drip pan. Mineral deposits, dirt, or other lawn debris usually cause clogged condensate drains. Unclogging a drain is an involved process and requires specific equipment, so it’s best to leave this job in the hands of an experienced technician.

Low Refrigerant Level

Cooling systems rely on a liquid called refrigerant in order to produce cold air. Low refrigerant can cause the evaporator coil to freeze and water to pool in the drip pan. The only time an AC needs extra refrigerant is if the refrigerant line is cracked. Refrigerant leaks require immediate attention and professional repairs.

Disconnected Drain Line

The drain line is a pipe that allows water to safely move from the drip pan to the condensate drain. Although not very common, it’s possible for the drain line to disconnect from the drip pan. When this connection is interrupted, water may instead accumulate in the drip pan or even leak out onto the ground near the drain. Unlike many HVAC components which are hidden inside the unit itself, the drain line is easily visible on the back of the unit. You can take a peek behind the unit to see if the drain line is disconnected or damaged. An HVAC technician can handle re-installing or replacing the drain line.

Damaged Drip Pan

AC drip pans go through quite a bit of wear and tear each season. Although these components are designed to be sturdy and rugged, years of water condensation can take their toll. If your AC is over a decade old, it’s possible the drip pan is no longer in peak condition. Over time, it’s common for drip pans to crack, corrode, or develop holes. A damaged pan can develop leaks and allow water to drip or pool around the unit.

Repairs for Leaky HVAC Systems

If your HVAC system is experiencing a leak, it’s best to have the situation assessed by a professional as quickly as possible. Excessive moisture can damage your HVAC’s internal components and lead to pricier, more involved repairs down the line. The team at Hometown Heating, Air & Electric will get to the bottom of the situation and provide professional, long-lasting solutions. We’re the Cedarburg area’s experts when it comes to HVAC repair, replacement, and maintenance.

Tired of dealing with a leaky HVAC? Contact us today to schedule a service appointment!

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