air conditioner leak

Anytime there’s a leak in your home, it’s natural to feel concerned. Water damage can be expensive to repair, and it doesn’t take long to occur once a leak has started. Even the simplest leak can damage floors, walls, ceilings, carpet, and even furniture.

If your A/C has started leaking water, it’s crucial to take action. Before we go any further, turn off your air conditioner and clean up the water that dripped out of it. Water damage can occur within minutes of a leak, and you’ll want to protect your home from any potential damage while you investigate the cause of the leak.

While a leaky A/C is a cause for alarm, the majority of leak-related malfunctions can be quickly repaired by an HVAC technician.

Reason #1: Frozen Evaporator Coil

Your air conditioner has several important parts that help cool the air in your home. One of these parts is known as the evaporator coil, which is responsible for cooling down the refrigerant that runs through its coil. It does this by extracting heat from the air inside your home and sending it to the condenser coil outside.  

If you don’t get your yearly A/C tune-up, your evaporator coil can become covered in a thin (or thick) layer of dust and dirt. When the coil gets dirty, it is unable to perform the heat exchange between your indoor air and the refrigerant. This causes the evaporator coil to get too cold, and ice can form as a result. Over time, the entire coil can become encased in ice.

If you notice a puddle of water underneath your A/C, check on your evaporator coil. Water could be dripping from a layer of ice and frost growing around the coil. Though this is something you should get fixed right away, it’s unlikely to cause permanent damage to your unit. Turn off your A/C, place a towel underneath the unit, and schedule an appointment for a simple A/C repair.

Reason #2: Clogged Drain Line

As we’ve mentioned in past blogs, your A/C is responsible for removing the humidity from your indoor air. High humidity levels make it difficult for your air conditioner to cool your home, so it removes humidity as part of its cooling process.

This drain line can become clogged over time, similar to any other pipe in your home. When this happens, water can become backed up inside your unit. If the drain isn’t cleaned out in time, the collected water will spill out of the condensation pan and drip onto your floor.

frozen air conditioner

This is one of the most common causes of air conditioner leaks, and it’s also an easy one to fix! An HVAC technician can use a wet/dry vacuum to remove any dust, dirt, or mold that has built up inside your drain line.

Reason #3: Rusty Drain Pan

Another air conditioner part that can cause a leak is the condensation pan. As discussed above, the condensation pan collects the moisture that is pulled from your indoor air. After pooling into the inch-deep pan, the water travels through a drain pipe to the exterior of your home.

The pan prevents moisture from dripping throughout the interior of your A/C and leaking into your home. Because the pan is shallow, it can overflow if the condensate drain becomes clogged. Any water that spills out of the pan will leak into your home.

Condensate drain pans can also become rusty over time, especially when your air conditioner is ten years old or older. Holes and cracks in a rusty condensate pan can allow water to leak into your home.  

Reason #4: Low Refrigerant

It’s a common misconception that air conditioners use up refrigerant in the same way cars use up gas. This is incorrect. Your air conditioner does not require regular refills of refrigerant. However, your A/C can experience malfunctions that cause your refrigerant to leak, which is usually indicated by a hissing or bubbling noise coming from the system.

If your A/C is experiencing a refrigerant leak, the unit will need to be repaired and the lost refrigerant will need to be replaced. Without the right amount of refrigerant, your A/C won’t be able to pull the heat from your indoor air. This prevents your A/C from cooling your home, and it can also cause the evaporator coil to get too cold. When the evaporator coil reaches a certain temperature, it will start to form ice inside your unit. This ice can cause your air conditioner to leak water into your home. 

air conditioner leak

A leaky A/C should always be dealt with as soon as possible, no matter the cause of the leak. Water damage can happen very quickly, and failing to get your air conditioner repaired when you first notice the issue can lead to a larger breakdown.

If you see water dripping from your A/C, call Four Seasons right away and lay down a towel to prevent the moisture from damaging your floor. As always, the best way to prevent your A/C from developing a leak is to get your yearly A/C Tune-up. Don’t forget to schedule yours before the season ends!