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What Causes an Air Conditioner Leak?

What Causes an Air Conditioner Leak?

Most of the time, there is little attention paid to the central air conditioning system.


As long as the system is functioning properly, many homeowners assume things are going along just as expected. That could all change when you find a puddle of water around the inside air handling unit, this can be quite alarming, but usually it's a simple as a clogged drain line. Now is not the time to panic, as this type of thing is not uncommon. However, it is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Your air conditioner leak could be caused by only a few things. Trying to repair it yourself could escalate the problem, so please be sure to call AC Today to handle the situation.

It is normal to find condensation around the drain line outside, depending on how much humidity is being removed from your home. During the summer, when it's humid, it is common to see a small puddle under the drain line outside. You also shouldn't be alarmed if you find a small amount of water near, or under the condensing unit outside, as is does sweat a bit during the summer. Weather conditions, temperature settings and a small amount of water around your outdoor system is normal, especially living in a humid climate such as Florida. Your air conditioning system works hard on a humid day to maintain your desired temperature setting and sweats just like we do. It is always good to monitor the amount of water for any large increase or decrease in water levels. Your AC Today technician will advise you of a concerning levels to watch for.

Air Conditioner Leak

Clogged Drain Line
This seems to be the most common cause of an air conditioner leak. Debris and algae can build up inside the condensate drain line and cause the water to back up into your home. If this happens, we advise you to contact us immediately. This is an issue that can be handled quickly, by unclogging the line. Our technician will use a specialty vacuum or pump designed to remove the blocked debris from the clogged drain.

Dirty Air Filters
Air filters are designed to filter the air particles that are flowing through your home. Dust and debris get trapped within the air filter, resulting in clean and filtered air. It is recommended that you change your air filter on a routine schedule to constantly provide your home with fresh air. If the filter becomes clogged or restricted, the evaporator coil becomes too cold and can create too much condensation or even freeze. This can certainly cause water to overflow when the coil begins to melt.

Disconnected Drain Line
When a system is improperly installed, drain pipe fittings may not be as secure as they should. Over time, the pipe fittings can loosen, causing a disconnect from the AC unit. The location of the air conditioner leak depends on which drain pipe is affected, primary or secondary, and if the system is located inside your home or attic.

Other Potential Causes:
Low Refrigerant
Condensate buildup in un-insulated ductwork
Cracked condensate drain pipe
No p-trap to prevent water backup

Ways To Avoid An Air Conditioner Leak

Be sure your system has a secondary line. Especially if the air handler is located inside the attic.
Clean or Replace the air filter regularly.
Each drain line should contain a p-trap and air vent.
Adding a safety pan beneath the unit will catch the overflow condensate.
Ask your AC Today technician to install a drain pan overflow shut off switch. Many switches are equipped with a float switch that detects rising water in condensate drain pans. This switch shuts off the air handler before overflow occurs.
Proper ductwork insulation
Schedule a routine maintenance inspection with AC Today to maximize performance. An air conditioning technician will inspect all electrical wiring, check all fluid levels and inspect the system for possible AC repairs.

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