Know the Difference Between Normal Leaking and Problematic Leaking
If you have noticed that your air conditioner unit is leaking outside, you might be concerned, but you do not necessarily need to be. In fact, it is normal for your air conditioning unit to leak small amounts of water during routine functioning because it is producing condensation. As the system’s evaporator coil cools warm air that passes over it and absorbs heat and moisture from the air, condensation forms naturally. Condensation then drips and collects in the system’s drain pan, through the condensate drain line, and out of the home. That is why, if you notice a puddle around the condenser unit, there is likely no cause for concern.
When you might have a cause for concern is if the leak does not stop during the day or if the unit is leaking often. The amount of condensation that is normal to expect from your air conditioner depends on a few factors, such as the thermostat setting and outdoor temperature. If your air conditioning unit is functioning as it should, it should only leak or produce condensation when operating. The small amount of water that does form should dry rather quickly in the air. If you notice frequent or persistent leaks outside of the unit, or if the leak persists for a day or longer, it could be due to one of the following issues:
- Blocked drain pipe
If your air conditioner unit is leaking inside the home, it is most likely caused by a clogged condensate drain line. This line can become clogged over time with debris like dirt, dust, and mold. If the clogs become severe enough, it can cause the pipe to leak or prevent condensation from exiting properly.
- Clogged filters
Another potential cause of leaky AC units is clogged dirty filters. Dirty filters can cause your evaporator coils to freeze, which will cause water to spill over the AC drain pan.
- Faulty condensate pan
If your unit is full of water, it is likely due to a clogged drainpipe. Inside of the refrigerant coils and pipes is a breeding ground for algae, mold, and other substances. Over time, this algae and mold can clog the drainpipe and cause water to build up, which leaks into the drain pan.
- Faulty pump
If your pump is broken, it will not allow water to flow away from the overflow pan. Instead, the pan will fill until it drips onto the floor. One way to test your pump is to pour water into the pan. If nothing happens when you do this, then you know the drain is not clogged, and your issue could be a faulty pump.
- Refrigerant leaks
It is also possible that the AC leaking is related to a refrigerant leak. If you have low refrigerant levels, it will also lower the pressure in the air conditioner, which will lead to the evaporator coils freezing and potentially leaking.
- Improper installation
If your air conditioner leaks considerable quantities of water despite being relatively new, it could also be caused by an installation issue. For example, if the unit is not level, water will accumulate unevenly in the overflow pan and drip over the side. That is why it is so important to work with an HVAC technician who is highly familiar with the mechanics of these systems, like the ones on the team at Meyer’s Companies, Inc. If the air conditioner is not installed on a completely flat surface, you might need to adjust the concrete pad it sits on in order to even it out.
If your air conditioner is a window unit, the front should be at a slight upward angle so the water drains out the back and into the outdoors. If the unit is too flat, the water might spill into the house rather than outside. It is also possible for water to leak excessively from a window unit if it was not installed securely. If this is the case, the moisture from the warm air could be meeting the cold air in the air conditioner and creating a leak.
- Cold temperatures
This is a problem that our customers typically experience towards the end of the normal air conditioning season. Your air conditioner might leak if it is running when it is too cold outside. This is because the unit will try to cool down your home, but if temperatures outside are cold as well, the coils could freeze up, which makes the unit leak water.
Your air conditioning units are important parts of your home. They keep your home at ideal temperatures and make it a safe and comfortable place to be. At Meyer’s Companies, Inc., we understand how important these systems are, and we are here to help you repair and maintain them. If properly maintained, your cooling system will last for many years. If you are having issues with your system, you can trust our team to get to the bottom of it and keep your system running properly for many years to come.
If you are having issues with a leaking air conditioner unit or another HVAC issue, call Meyer’s Companies, Inc. at (219) 240-0610 or contact us online to get the help you need.