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Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking?

AC Leak

Have you noticed your air conditioner losing efficiency recently? Spotted pooling water around the unit? If this sounds familiar, you may be dealing with an AC leak. Air conditioners naturally generate a lot of moisture, so do not jump to conclusions if you see some condensation on your equipment. However, it is still important to watch out for leaks, as they can cause serious damage to your air conditioning system and larger property. Keep reading to learn the reasons your air conditioner is leaking, and remember that for all the residential and commercial HVAC services you need, you can count on our experts at West Coast Air Conditioning.

The Top 5 Reasons Your AC Is Leaking

  1. Clogged Drain Lines: If your indoor AC unit has sprung a leak, there is a good chance it is because of a clogged condensate drain line. It is not uncommon for AC drain lines to become obstructed by various dirt and debris over time, and when this happens, the water coming from your system will not be able to get disposed of outside, like it should be, and may back up in your home instead. Fortunately, it is not difficult to remove drain line blockages on your own, and most homeowners can do this with a wet/dry vac. If you have tried this and it does not work, or you simply would prefer the expertise of a professional, do not hesitate to hire a technician like one of our experts at West Coast Air Conditioning to remove that clog for you.
  2. Dirty Air Filters: It is good practice to change your air conditioner’s filter every 30 days, or at least, every few months. Obviously, the hotter the climate you live in, and the more you use your air conditioner, the more you will want to do this. The same applies if you have a reusable filter, except that you should be cleaning rather than replacing it. A dirty AC filter will block airflow to the unit’s evaporator coil, causing it to become extremely cold, and potentially even freeze. The last thing you want is a frozen coil, as this can force you to replace your unit if the problem gets bad enough, so make sure to look out for condensation around this component, and do not forget to replace/clean your filter regularly.
  3. Damaged Drain Pans: Your air conditioner’s drain pan is located below the evaporator coils, and is in place to collect condensation that runs off the unit. This component is key to prevent mold growth in your system (as mold thrives anywhere there is excess moisture,) and assists in the dehumidification process while also taking care of moisture that is created during the heat transfer process. After years of use, it is possible for your drain pan to become cracked, damaged, and rusted, and eventually, it may spring a leak. While modern drain plans are plastic and durable, with a lifespan of 5-10 years, you may need to call a technician to replace your drain pan if your system is ten-years-old or older.
  4. Broken Condensate Pumps: Your AC condensate pump helps keeps water out of your home, and is particularly important to air conditioners in humid environments. Similar to your drain line, if your pump gets clogged, it may cause the drain pan to overflow and you may notice water around the unit. It is especially common for condensate pump leaks to manifest in the basement, so if this is the location of your air conditioning leak, call a technician to look at your pump ASAP.
  5. Low Refrigerant: Refrigerant leaks exist in a separate category from water leaks, and are a big enough problem that merit a list of their own. Unlike other fuel sources, you should not have to refill your refrigerant. AC refrigerant functions on a closed-loop system, so you should only have to refill, aka “recharge” it if something goes wrong. Watch out for loss of efficiency in your system, as well as other malfunctions, and always call a technician right away if you are experiencing a refrigerant problem. Refrigerant is a dangerous chemical compound, so it should only be handled by an experienced professional.

To learn more about AC leaks, call West Coast Air Conditioning at (805) 954-9195, or send us a message online.