Water leaking from your AC unit can be frustrating. You keep wiping it up, but it comes right back. Why is this happening? There are several reasons why this may be occurring, but the important thing to remember is not to panic. Instead, take action right away to prevent damage to your cooling system. The main thing is to find out why it is leaking and fix the problem right away to avoid a costly replacement later on. Here are a few common causes of water leaks in your air conditioner.
Frozen Evaporator Coil
The first common reason for water leaking on the floor is from a frozen evaporator coil. A dirty air filter may be the cause of the frozen coil. Air filters should be changed once per month when the air conditioner is used frequently. When dust and dirt accumulate on the filter, it blocks the airflow, putting a strain on the system and causing it to work harder. It can also block the flow of air to the system and cause the evaporator coil to freeze up. Without adequate airflow, the coils get too cold and start to freeze.
When the system cycles off, the ice on the frozen coil melts, leaving a puddle of water on the floor near the bottom of the system. Low refrigerant levels can also cause the coil to freeze.
Damaged Drain Pan
AC systems in older homes may need some TLC to keep them in good condition. Rusty, bent, or misaligned parts can cause issues with other components. An air conditioner that is at least 10 years old may need a few parts replaced that have become rusty, like the drain pan. The drain pan is where the condensation is collected as it drips from the coils. If this pan is damaged, it cannot do its job right and might be the cause of the water leak.
Clogged Drain Line
The drain line is connected to the drain pan and transfers the condensation from your air conditioner outside where it is released. This line often becomes clogged by dust, dirt, and algae, so the water cannot drain properly. When the line is clogged, the water cannot drain and backs up, where it drips onto the floor. Vibration from the air conditioner may also cause this line to become loose and disconnect from the pan.
It could be that it has come loose from vibrations within the system or it may have been improperly installed. You can see why it is so difficult to pinpoint a reason when there are so many causes to consider.
Broken Condensate Pump
Another reason for water pooled on the floor might be that the condensate drain pump has stopped working. The condensate drain pump collects water from the system and pumps it to the drain pan. Its job is to ensure proper drainage in the system. If the pump is broken, it cannot do its job and should be replaced immediately.
Low Refrigerant Levels
Low refrigerant levels can cause water leaks. Refrigerant is the liquid inside the system that makes everything cold. If the refrigerant in the system is low, it may be due to a leak or other problem. Every air conditioner has a set “level” to provide the right balance for adequate heat exchange. With less refrigerant, there is less heat absorption. Some signs you have low refrigerant levels include ice on the refrigerant lines, warm air blowing out, and odd sounds coming from your cooling system.
Low refrigerant is bad for your cooling system because it restricts airflow to the condenser, causes the coil to freeze up, and increases the strain on the system, causing it to wear out sooner. If the refrigerant levels are low, you will not see any refrigerant leaks. The liquid you see on the floor is water from the frozen coil as it thaws out.
Regardless of the reason for the leak, it must be stopped to avoid damaging the system. If allowed to continue in this state, it will continue to put more strain on the unit until repairing it is no longer an option. A qualified professional can spot the problem and fix it before it causes any more problems.
If you have water leaking from your AC unit, contact us at Element Air LLC today to get the problem diagnosed and fixed by one of our skilled technicians. We provide heating and cooling services from installation to tune-ups and more to the residents of Louisville and the surrounding area. We’re a locally owned company that takes prides in our excellent service.