Air conditioning units and systems are absolutely essential in many places, helping to control the temperature inside your home, keeping the rooms cool and fresh during the hot summer months, and allowing you to live comfortably and conveniently.
Indeed, many people living in tropical climates or very warm and sunny areas like Florida need to have their aircon running almost non-stop in order to keep their homes properly ventilated, and it would be very difficult to live comfortably if the AC were to break down.
Unfortunately, various issues can sometimes arise with air conditioning units, and one of the most common issues requiring emergency air conditioning repair is the AC leaking water.
It’s never fun to see your AC leaking water or dripping water around the home, and this can be a sign of many different issues with the system itself which cause it to become ineffective or unresponsive. This guide will cover some of the many causes of aircon leaking, as well as steps to repair these issues.
Why is there water in my air conditioner?
You might wonder why water is even present in your air conditioner in the first place. Well, in order to understand this, you have to understand how most AC units work.
On the outside, they might look pretty simple, but if you open up an AC unit, you’ll find some complex technology, including an evaporator coil.
The evaporator coil is responsible for cooling the warm air that passes over it, and during this cooling process, condensation (water droplets) is formed on the coil itself.
This is a big part of the heat exchange process that helps AC units work correctly and cool down the air inside your home, and usually, the water will drip down into a drain pan and then travel out of the home via a drain line.
So the presence of water in your aircon is perfectly normal, but sometimes, issues arise that cause the water to leak or drip out. This is when air conditioning repair is needed.
What are the main causes of water leaking
There are many potential causes of an AC leaking water. Find out more about these causes, and how to fix them, in the list below.
Blocked aircon filter
This is one of the most common reasons for an AC problems. Air conditioning units have filters that help to trap and remove large particles of dust and dirt from the air, but over time, just like any other kind of filter, they can get dirty and clogged up.
This can make it harder for air to flow through the system, leading to the air actually freezing around the filter. Then, when the filter gets turned off or the room gets warmer, that ice can start to melt and drip out of the unit.
Fortunately, this is one of the simplest issues for air conditioning repair experts to deal with. The blocked filter simply needs to be removed and then either cleaned up or replaced with a fresh one, and the problem should be solved from that point on.
Dirty aircon Filter
As stated above, the filter plays a key role in the overall functionality of your air conditioning unit. It helps to trap particles from the air and allows for even and balanced airflow throughout the system itself. Filters do tend to get dirty over time since their whole purpose is to attract and trap dirt and grime.
As explained in the previous point, this can interfere with the airflow in the unit. It may cause some freezing around the filter or coil, and then the frozen ice will melt gradually, dripping or leaking out of the unit.
Dirty or clogged filters are quite easy to deal with. Either the aircon owner or a professional repairman will be able to remove the dirty filter and then clean it or replace it with a fresh one. The drip tray may also need to be emptied due to the accumulation of water.
Aircon condenser coil is leaking
Usually, the condenser unit of the air conditioner system for your home is located outside of the home itself. It features several key parts that help the AC to function correctly, including a motor, compressor, and the all-important condenser coil.
Since these parts are located outdoors, exposed to the air and the elements, there’s more chance of them getting blocked, dirty, or damaged, and this can lead to leaks.
When this happens, you’ll usually need to contact air conditioner repair specialists to come out and take a look at the problem. The coil may need to be cleaned or repaired, and in some cases, replacement parts may even be needed to address the issue.
Clogging of the drain line
The drain line is what helps to take the condensation and moisture away from the AC unit and out of the home. It’s an absolutely vital part of the smooth operation of the system itself, but unfortunately, it is prone to clogging.
Drain lines can get clogged up due to build-ups of dirt, debris, mold, and even fungi growth inside them. All of these issues may cause a clog to occur in the line, which means that water won’t be able to flow out as it should and will start building up inside the unit. This will invariably lead to leaks and drips.
To fix this issue, a professional air conditioner repair expert will need to open up the unit and take a look at the drain line to inspect for clogs and blockages. They’ll then need to use plumbing tools and skills to get rid of the blockages and free up the line for the flow of water to resume.
Air conditioners are quite complex machines and they need to be handled with care, right from the first moment. They have to be installed accurately, otherwise, a range of different problems can develop, which is why it’s recommended to get professional air conditioner installation whenever possible.
If the unit has not been installed properly, it’s likely that leaks may occur. The drain line might not be fitted correctly, for example, or the positioning of the unit might not be quite right, causing leaks and drips to happen.
If you feel that your unit has been installed improperly, you’ll need to get an expert to take a look at it. They may need to dismount the unit and then set it up again correctly, or they might be able to just make a few adjustments to the existing installation to get it working the right way, without any risk of leaks.
The condensation pump is another integral part of your air conditioner unit. It’s situated underneath the cooling coil, and its role is to pump the water out of the system through the drain line to avoid any leaks.
Naturally, when the pump breaks down, leaks will occur, because the water won’t be getting pumped through the system correctly. There are various causes for this. Sometimes, pumps break due to old age, but in other cases, they might simply break or stop working correctly due to build-ups of dirt and debris inside the unit.
For a broken pump, you’ll need to speak with an air conditioner repair specialist. They’ll need to open up the AC unit and inspect the pump for damage. In some cases, a few alterations might be possible to fix the pump, but in many cases, a whole new pump will need to be purchased and installed into your system to replace the broken one.
Frozen aircon coil
As mentioned earlier, the evaporator coil is one of the most important parts of the AC unit. It helps to provide the heat exchange process that essentially takes heat energy out of the hot air that passes through the system in order for it to blow cool air back out around the home.
However, the coil can get damaged in various ways and may even freeze up in certain circumstances. This often happens when the filter has gotten dirty or blocked, as the filter is what helps to regulate airflow through the system. If air isn’t flowing properly, the temperature inside the unit will fall as it works harder to compensate. This can lead to freezing.
When it comes to frozen aircon coils, repairmen will usually need to open up the unit and inspect the problem to see what’s wrong. Or you might be able to fix the issue on your own, as it’s most likely just a problem with the filter. Take the filter out and either clean it and put it back or insert a fresh one.
Clogged condensation line
Air conditioners work by sucking in wet, warm air and then passing that air over cold pipes to transfer the heat energy away, before recirculating the cool air back around the house. Water is produced naturally in this process via condensation, and that condensation usually flows out of the unit via a condensation line, also known as a drain line.
Unfortunately, condensation lines can get clogged due to dirt, debris, mold, and other issues, and this leads to water building up inside the unit itself and eventually leaking out onto your walls and floors.
When a condensation line gets clogged or blocked in any way, a repairman will need to clear up that blockage. This may involve various plumbing techniques to flush out the blockage and free the path for water to start flowing again.
It’s too cold outside
Sometimes, it’s just simply too cold for your air conditioner to function effectively. These units aren’t really designed to work in very cold conditions, as the whole point of an AC system is to cool down the home in warm temperatures.
So, if the outside temperature drops down below around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the AC may struggle to operate and the coil inside may freeze, causing gradually drips and leaks to seep out.
The key here is to know when the time is right to turn the unit off. You don’t need to keep it running when the outside air temperature is too low, as this will be a waste of energy and could damage your system in the long run.
When it’s high time to call a professional
There are certain simple aircon repairs you can handle on your own, like cleaning filters and putting in fresh filters, but if your aircon is leaking water all over the place, not working correctly, or having order issues that you simply don’t know how to solve, it’s time to call the pros. Professional aircon repair experts will be able to easily identify and solve common AC issues with minimal fuss to protect your home.