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Why is My Air Conditioning Leaking Water?

air conditioning leaking

If you’ve ever found water dripping or pooling around your air conditioning unit, you’re not alone. As air conditioning specialists in Essex, we see this common issue often, which raises important questions: Why does this happen, and is it a cause for concern? 

Air conditioners are complex systems. They involve various components working together to cool your space, and when one of these components fails or malfunctions, it can cause it to leak water and cause damage to your home or business.

 The reasons why your air con leaks can be varied, from a simple clog in the drain line to a more severe coolant leak. Regular AC maintenance can prevent many of these issues, but understanding the causes is the first step in tackling them.

Common Causes of Air Conditioning Leaks

Understanding why an air conditioner leaks will prevent future issues. If you find an AC leak, there could be many reasons and causes why. 

Clogged Drain Line 

One of the most common reasons your air conditioning might be leaking is a clogged drain line. This line carries condensation away from your AC unit. Over time, it can become blocked with debris like dirt, dust, and sometimes mould. When this happens, the water that should flow out gets trapped and starts to back up, leading to leaks around your unit.

How to Prevent a Clogged Drain Line 

Regularly cleaning your AC’s drain line is an effective way to prevent clogs. You can use a mild cleaning solution to flush the line. 

Refrigerant Leaks 

Refrigerant is a fundamental component in your air conditioning system, responsible for cooling the air. A leak in the refrigerant can lead to several problems, including a water leak. When the refrigerant level drops, it causes the AC coils to freeze. Once the ice on these coils melts, it can result in an excess of water that the drain pan may not be able to handle, leading to leaks.

How to Prevent Refrigerant Leaks 

Routine checks for refrigerant levels will make sure you notice your AC isn’t cooling as well as it should or if there’s ice formation on the coils. This could indicate a refrigerant leak. In this case, having a professional inspect your system is best. They can fix the leak and recharge the refrigerant, ensuring your system operates efficiently and safely.

Frozen Evaporator Coil 

The evaporator coils in your air conditioner can freeze for various reasons, such as low refrigerant levels, poor circulation, or dirty coils. When these frozen coils melt, excess water can overflow the drain pan, leading to leaks onto the floor.

How to Prevent a Frozen Evaporator Coil

Frequent maintenance will keep the air filters clean and ensure proper airflow. Also, have your refrigerant levels checked periodically. If you notice frost or ice on the evaporator coils, it’s best to turn off the unit and call a professional to diagnose and fix the issue.

Condensate Pump

Some air conditioning units, especially those in basements, use a condensate pump to help expel the water collected by the unit. If this pump malfunctions or breaks down, it can’t effectively move the water, leading to potential leaks.

How to Prevent a Fault in the Condensate Pump

Periodic checks ensure everything works correctly, so check your condensate pump periodically. If you hear unusual noises or see water not being expelled properly, it might be time to repair or replace the pump. In some cases, cleaning the pump can resolve the issue, but if it’s a mechanical failure, professional help might be necessary.

Blocked Air Ducts 

In commercial AC systems, ductwork issues can cause leaks. These systems have extensive ductwork that carries cool air, and condensation can form if there are leaks or poor connections in the ductwork. This can look like a leak from the AC unit.

How to Prevent Ductwork Leaks 

Ensure ducts are well-sealed and insulated, and look for signs like unusual humidity, water stains near ducts, or uneven cooling. If you see these signs, get a professional to check your ductwork and keep your system leak-free.

Dirty Air Filters

When air filters in your AC unit become clogged with dust and dirt, it restricts airflow over the evaporator coils. These coils can then freeze due to inadequate air circulation. As the ice on these coils melts, it can produce more water than the drain pan can handle, leading to leaks.

How to Clean Dirty Air Filters

Consistently replacing or cleaning air filters is an easy way to prevent this issue. Check your air filters monthly and replace or clean them as needed. To clean dirty air filters in your AC unit, first remove them and gently wash them with warm, soapy water. Allow them to dry completely before reinserting them into the unit. This not only prevents leaks but also ensures your AC unit runs efficiently.

Damaged Drain Pan 

The drain pan under the evaporator coil catches condensation from the AC unit. Over time, this pan can rust, corrode, or crack, leading to water leakage.

How to Prevent Damage to the Drain Pan

Regularly inspect the drain pan; if you spot any signs of damage or wear, it’s time to replace the pan. This is a common issue for older air conditioning units, so keeping an eye on the condition of the drain pan can prevent leaks due to water overflow.

Improper Installation

Sometimes, the cause of an air conditioner leaking water is as straightforward as improper installation. If a new air conditioner is not level or has too much pressure on specific components, it can lead to water not draining properly and subsequently leaking.

How to Prevent Improper Installation

Ensure that your AC unit is installed by a professional like our team at GLP. If you suspect that an improper installation is causing leaks, it might be worth having a technician reevaluate and possibly reinstall your unit. This is especially important for new installations or if you’ve recently moved to a new home.

DIY Solutions and When to Call a Professional

Dealing with an air conditioner leak can be straightforward in some cases, but depending on what has caused the leak, it can require care and professional know-how. 

If you’ve identified a simple, easy-to-fix issue, here’s what you can do:

  • Clogged Drain Line: Gently clean the line with a mild cleaning solution to clear any blockage.
  • Dirty Air Filters: Replace or clean the filters to improve airflow and prevent leaks.
  • Damaged Drain Pan: Replace the drain pan to avoid overflow or leaks. 

Always turn off your AC unit before attempting any DIY fixes, and when handling any part of your AC unit, wear appropriate safety gear, like gloves and eyewear. 

Risks of DIY AC Repair

While some problems can be fixed at home, air conditioning systems are complex and can pose risks if not handled properly. Incorrect repairs can lead to more significant issues, including damaging the system, voiding warranties, or even personal injury.

If you’re facing any of the following situations, it’s time to call a professional:

  1. Refrigerant Leaks: Handling refrigerant requires specialised knowledge and equipment.
  2. Electrical Issues: If the problem seems electrical, it’s safer to have a professional look at it.
  3. Recurring Problems: If the same issue keeps happening, it might indicate a deeper problem that needs expert attention.
  4. No Experience: If you’re unsure about your ability to fix the issue safely, it’s best to call a professional.

Professional air conditioning specialists like GLP can efficiently and safely diagnose and fix air conditioner leaks and also offer maintenance tips to prevent future issues. While DIY solutions might solve minor problems, if you’re unsure or facing a complex issue, it’s best to seek professional help to ensure your air conditioning system is well-maintained and functioning properly.

Say Goodbye to Air Con Leaks 

For efficient and reliable solutions to your AC leaks, contact us today. Our expert team can help diagnose and fix your air conditioning issues, ensuring your system runs smoothly and efficiently. Trust in our experience for peace of mind and a comfortable home environment.

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