We know that our winters in Central Florida can be odd. There are days that it is 80 degrees and days that it Is 50 degrees so making sure the AC is working is important year-round. If you are checking out the AC and notice a puddle inside the air handler closet, you will be wondering why is my AC leaking water. It can be a variety of reasons such as a clogged drain line, dirty air filter, or AC low on refrigerant to name a few.
Let’s take a look at the variety of reasons and how to fix this issue.
Background on AC Units
Air conditioning systems usually have indoor and outdoor units. The indoor unit has an evaporator coil that will cool the warm air as it flows over it and makes the temperature inside the home where you find it to be comfortable. Then this hot air blows over the coils and condensation starts to form.
The moisture drips into the drain pan and this pan flows towards the condensate line. This line flows out of the home so usually, any leaks are outside. However, sometimes, the air conditioner might be leaking water in the inside unit.
1. Clogged Condensate Drain
One reason why the AC is leaking water is that the condensate drain is clogged. Things such as dirt, dust, or mold can clog it. When you have a clogged condensate drain line, the water can’t drain outside so it backs up and leaks back into the home. If you have a float switch, the good news is it will shut down the system to avoid more damage.
Cost – This can cost between $75 to $250 depending on the severity of the issue.
How to Unclog the Drain Line
- Use a wet/dry vac – this should take out anything that is blocking the line and allow the water to flow again. I
- Call a professional- if the wet/dry vac doesn’t work, call a professional to help.
2. A Dirty Air Filter Can Be Why the AC Leaking Water
Air filters need changing out and it depends on your home as to when to do this. If you have pets, it should be every 30 days. If you don’t have pets, it can be 90 days or more. Nowadays, there are smart air filters that will tell you via the app that it needs changing.
A dirty air filter puts the ac system into overdrive and can cause it to stop working properly. In addition, it can keep the air from flowing over the evaporator coil and cause the evaporator coil to freeze. When the frozen coil melts, the water can cause the pan to overflow. This will also cause the ac unit to be leaking water and mold can form.
Cost– Air filters cost between $5 – $50 depending on the size and type of filter you purchase.
3. Refrigerant is Low in the AC
If the refrigerant is low, then the pressure inside the AC is low as well. This also can cause freezing of the evaporator coil and a mess. If you check the air filter and it is not dirty, then check the refrigerant levels. You might also hear a bubbling sound or hissing and these will indicate there is a refrigerant leak. The good news is if you catch the leak in time, you may spare damage to your home. However, if not, you may need to purchase a new unit.
Cost: It is sold by the pound and can cost $50-$150 per pound installed. Additionally, it can cost $100-600 depending on the type of freon needed.
4. Drip Pan Broken or Needs Repair
An AC unit that is between 12-15 years old may need a new drip pan. Replacing the pan is a good idea to see if this takes care of the issue.
5. Broken Condensate Pump
A broken condensate pump can also be a cause of a leaking AC. In states where homes have a basement, the pump should be sending the dripping water outside. Here in Florida, most AC units are in an air handler closet and also pump the water outside. If it is broken, you will have water damage in the home.
Other Recommended Maintenance
If your home has an air conditioner unit or even a furnace, you will want to make sure it is maintained. A furnace or AC not turning on might be because there are issues such as a circuit breaker not working, or a drain pan issue. AC and furnace maintenance is important so you aren’t looking at costly repairs for either one.
Another area to check is the HVAC unit. This unit usually lasts about 10-15 years before replacement is needed. To get it to last this long, you should have a tune-up done twice a year. If you do this and continue to have frequent visits from the technician, it may be time to replace the unit.
Lastly, making sure your attic is sealed is important. If it is not, the ac unit is working harder to cool the home while the air is escaping.
When Should I Call A Professional
Call a professional if you are unsure of what the issue is with the AC unit. As we mentioned above, it can be a number of things. However, if you don’t want to tackle the issue alone, reach out to a professional to help you. Paying the money to do this may frustrate you, but in the end, you could be saving a lot of money.
AC units are part of our everyday life here in Florida, and the summer temps in other states. Keeping this unit working is essential to being able to enjoy your home. If you are unsure of the issue, give your local home inspection team a call, Honor Services is your best home Inspection company In Brevard County, FL.