Is an Air Conditioner Supposed to Leak?
Coming home from work to see a puddle emanating from your AC closet can be alarming, but odds are it isn’t a reason to panic.
And while anytime something is out of the ordinary, it should trigger at least some concern (and to be clear, a leak is out of the ordinary), there are a few good steps to take before calling your favorite AC repair company to come take a look.
The common issues all are easy and safe for you to check on your own.
Common Reasons An AC Unit Might Leak
If you notice your air conditioner leaking, chances are it’s leaking water. Leaks or puddles near your AC system could be a result of one or more of these common issues:
Clogged Condensate Drain Line Can Cause Your AC Unit to Leak
Each AC unit has a drain pan that catches condensation on the AC coils as it drips. The drain pan is connected to a drain line, which is supposed to carry the condensed water from your drain pan to the outside. Frequently this line can get clogged up with dirt and dust that gets stuck to the sides of the drain line. Over time, the whole line can gunk up and prevent the drain line from operating as intended. When the water can no longer flow out, the drain line backs up and, not surprisingly, the water overflows out the other side of the AC unit.
Low or Leaking Refrigerant Can Cause Your AC Unit to Leak
This is less common than a clogged condensate drain, but it does happen (specifically when there’s overdue maintenance). Low or leaking refrigerant can cause the evaporator coils on your AC unit to freeze up. When your unit is low on refrigerant, the pressure also lowers inside your AC system and can cause problems like poor efficiency, your unit blowing warmer rather than cool air, higher bills, and a massive block of ice hanging on your evaporator coils. When (and if) that ice block melts, you’ll notice a big puddle of water.
Dirty Air Filters Can Cause Your AC Unit to Leak
Old, dirty filters will reduce the amount of airflow that reaches the evaporator coils in your unit. This also will cause the coils to freeze over. If the system is not getting enough air flowing through the coils, they will get too cold and freeze…and when they eventually thaw, that creates a puddle.
What To Do if Your AC Unit is Leaking
If your air conditioner is leaking, the first thing you should do is turn off the system. Leaks signal problems, so turning off the unit can help minimize further damage or issues. You should also clean up the leaked water to prevent mold and mildew from spreading.
Next, check your air filter. Air filters should be changed monthly during the summer months in Tampa, and at least every three months during the off-season.
If you need to clear out the drain line, try pouring 2 ounces of bleach down it, but if you are uncomfortable doing so, please feel free to call us.
At Mario’s Air Conditioning and Heating, we are more than happy to help diagnose and repair any of the other possible HVAC issues you’re experiencing in your home. Our cooling systems work hard here in Tampa. Keep yours operating at peak performance by scheduling annual tune-ups and inspections.