Water leaking from the ceiling or pooled on the floor can be a danger and a sign of potentially expensive damages. Here’s how you can identify the source and what you can do to fix the leak. There are a few reasons your A/C can be leaking and most of them are easy to fix. It is important to find the cause fast and make repairs before the problem escalates. A leaking A/C can cause damage to the walls, ceilings, floors, and furnishings. The compressor can also fail. This will result in you having to replace the entire unit and it will be expensive. Let’s make sure it doesn’t get to that.
The first thing to do is look at the coils. If you see that the unit is leaking, check the evaporator coil, which is part of the indoor air handling unit. If it is covered with ice when you find it, turn off the unit immediately. Ice is bad, it should not be present and is dangerous. Any water pools are most likely coming from the ice as it melts. If you see frozen coils, the next step is to call an expert. They can diagnose the cause of the frozen coil. It is not something you want to handle yourself. It is important that you do not touch the coil or try to chip any of the ice away. The coil fins are very fragile and this can easily damage them. Call an HVAC professional instead. The problem could still be easy to solve. A clogged air filter can cause the coil to freeze up, or it could be another systemic problem that is blocking airflow. A professional will be the best person to help identify the cause. If the coil is not frozen, you should still turn the unit off to avoid any further water from leaking into your space. This is especially important for units that are in the wall and ceilings to prevent damage to walls and interior surfaces. In addition to frozen coils, there are four more common causes for an A/C unit to leak water.
1. Filthy coils
Dust and debris can collect on the coils if maintenance is not kept up. As condensation collects around the coils, which is normal, it is not able to flow down the coil as needed as collected dirt is blocking the way. Moisture gets trapped and drips to the floor. This is an easy fix because all you need to do is clean the coils and remove all dirt. Ignoring dirty coils can turn into a bigger problem. The grime can become corroded with time which can cause refrigerant leaks and replacement of the entire coil.
2. Detached drain line
A detached drain line can happen as a result of poor installation. If not properly attached, the drain line can become detached allowing water to leak freely. Luckily is an easy fix, however it can cause a big mess. This can also be avoided if you always work with a professional HVAC contractor for installation and repairs.
3. Cracked insulation
The insulation around the coils helps to reduce the collected condensation from flowing down the coils. But, damaged or cracked insulation allows water to get through and can drip to the floor. This requires professional work to replace or repair the insulation depending on the extent of the damage.
Blocked drain lines and traps are also common as a result of poor maintenance. The A/C unit collects condensation which carries any dust into the drain line and drip pan. Or at least it is supposed to. Drain lines and the drain pan can become blocked which causes water to back up, overflow, and leak. With a good cleaning, the system can be fixed. If not caught early enough, damage can occur to the walls or ceilings where the leak was.
Scheduled maintenance is important to keep the A/C unit functioning efficiently. This allows you to identify potential problems early before the damage gets more expensive to fix.