Why Is Water Leaking From My Air Conditioning System?

Anytime you find water leaking somewhere in the home, it’s cause for concern because of the substantial damage that could occur as a result. Water damage can be extremely costly to repair due to the nature of the destruction that has occurred, not to mention the possibility for mold growth in and around the areas where moisture was found.

Among the main causes for water leakage in the home is the air conditioning system. If you detect wetness or discoloration at the floors, walls, or ceiling it could be due to a malfunction of some kind in your central air components. Any such malfunction might occur due to age of the system, poor HVAC maintenance, a dirty air filter, or a number of other problems that need to be addressed immediately.

Precautionary Measures

At the first sign of a leak, you must quickly find out where it’s coming from. But before you do your investigative work, take steps to prevent further leakage of water into your home. So if your air conditioning system is running, turn it off. That will stop more water from seeping in and reduce the risk of significant water damage occurring.

Next, you must clean up the water that has been spilled. Be sure to do this only after you’ve turned off the HVAC system because if you don’t, you’ll just be replacing the water you’ve cleaned up with more of it that you will then need to clean up as well.

Once you’ve done both of these, you can then get to finding out why water is leaking from your air conditioning system.

Possible Problems

Water leaks from an HVAC system can come about for any number of reasons. Some are easy and inexpensive to correct, others may be rather costly to repair or even replace. Whichever of these may be evident in your system, it’s imperative that you address the issue as soon as possible so as to you prevent further leaks from taking place in your home.

Here are the most common issues that homeowners encounter with water leaks from an HVAC system:

The Drain Line

When your air conditioning system is working properly, the evaporator coil tasked with producing cool air from warm air that moves through the system will start to produce condensation. That moisture needs to go somewhere, so your system is equipped with a drain pan that leads to a drain line.

That drain line is made of PVC pipe which sluices the water out of your home. But if that line is clogged with any manner of dirt and debris, it can prevent the water from moving freely and start to back up instead.

When that happens, the water can leak out of the unit and drip down your wall to the floor. So it pays to check your drain line regularly to make sure it’s not backed up with gunk.

The Drain Pan

Maybe the drain line is free and clear for proper water flow. You might need to check the drain pan. Older air conditioning units of 10 to 15 years of age will begin to show signs of wear and tear in the drain pan. These pans will start to rust or crack and the water is no longer being held in an airtight container.

The water will then drip through the pan allowing that moisture to escape through other areas in the system and leak into the home.

The Condensate Pump

HVAC systems that are located in basements will often be equipped with a condensate pump to move the water outside. The pump is tasked with circulating the water from the system to the outdoors as a substitute for a drain pan and drain line.

But when the pump is not operating correctly, the water isn’t being moved from the home. That may then result in a significant leak in your basement. If this is the problem you are experiencing, you will need to have a technician to come look at the pump to see if it can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced entirely.

The System Refrigerant

If your system is low on refrigerant, that can add undue stress on your air conditioning by allowing the evaporator coil to freeze. This is typically from a reduction in pressure through the system and a frozen coil can lead to a serious flood.

That’s because the coil will eventually melt and the resulting moisture will be too much to collect in the drain pan. Excessive water has nowhere else to go but spilling out of the unit into your home.


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