Why is my AC leaking water inside the house?
No one likes finding water somewhere it shouldn’t be, especially inside their home. The first thought that usually comes to mind is “where the heck is this coming from?” and your second will probably be, “how much is this going to cost to fix?”
Regardless, it’s important that you act fast if your hope is to prevent further damage to your home and an astronomical repair bill. Especially when it’s your AC system leaking water.
To prevent further damage, turn off your AC equipment as soon as you notice it leaking and clean up any excess water with a towel or shop vac if necessary. This will stop it from causing any lasting damage to the interior of your home
Causes of a leaky air conditioner
There are many different reasons why an air conditioner could cause a leak inside your home. Among them are:
- A disconnected or clogged drain line
- A clogged or rusted drain pan
- A malfunctioning condensate pump
- A frozen evaporator coil caused by a refrigerant leak or clogged filter
- Dirty or damaged coils
You’ll also want to inspect your coils as well as the drain line on your air conditioner’s air handler (the inside unit).
Below, we will explore the causes more in-depth so that you can easily figure out what caused your AC to start leaking water in the first place.
We’ll also tell you what steps you should take for each case.
Drain line problems
One of the most common causes of an air conditioner leaking water inside your home lie with the condensate drain line.
Your AC cools your home by eliminating water vapor from the air, which will then become something called condensate. When your AC equipment is operating the way it should, this condensate will collect on your AC evaporator coil before flowing down into the drain line.
It’s because of this that your drain line should be one of the first places you check when you notice your AC leaking.
Sometimes dirt and other debris can become trapped inside the line, which can cause backups, leaks or worst case even rupture the entire drain line.
Other drain line issues can come up if your HVAC company didn’t do that great of a job installing the line. If this is the case, your drain line might become loose.
Vibrations can also cause the line to become unstable and lead to an AC leak inside your home.
Regardless of whatever happened to cause your drain line to malfunction, the key is to get it fixed — and fast.
And remember: if qualified HVAC professionals can sometimes mess up your drain line installation, it’s best not to even attempt to do it yourself.
Avoid future problems and call on a trained professional instead.
Pan and pump problems
Homeowners who have air handlers located in their basements may notice that their drain lines empty condensate into their system drain pan. This condensate is then pumped out by the condensate pump.
For everyone else, your air handler is probably located in your attic or maybe even somewhere in your crawl space. In that case feel free to jump ahead to the next section.
If you do indeed have a air handler located in your basement, be aware that this kind of system can lead to your AC leaking water inside your house in a few different ways:
- Rusted old drain pans that are full of cracks and no longer doing their job.
- A broken down condensate pump, which can lead to the pan backing up.
In either case, call in a professional to replace your damaged pan and/or pump.
AC water leaks & frozen coils
Have you noticed a buildup of frost or ice on your AC’s evaporator coils? If so, don’t wait to get it fixed.
Allowing your system to keep running in this condition could lead to a more expensive repair, like a fried compressor, or even an entire system replacement.
In one major way, having a frozen coil issue can actually be a good thing. It alerts you that there’s a problem before a catastrophic system failure like what we described above can happen.
Regardless, act fast.
Turn off your system as soon as you notice water leaking into your home to minimize the damage.
There are many different reasons a frozen coil can happen, but two of the most common are:
- A refrigerant leak
- A clogged air filter
Again, call in a professional for reinforcement. Don’t feel the need to fix a complex issue like a frozen coil or AC leak yourself.
Damaged or dirty coils
If you’re like most homeowners, chances are good you’ve been neglecting certain important aspects of your yearly AC maintenance routine.
This includes cleaning your AC coils, which are susceptible to things like excess dust and grime the longer they go without being maintained.
Neglecting your ac coils can also cause the outside insulation to become damaged or riddled with cracks over time.
If this happens, your condensate may not be able to make its way down to the coils into the drain line the way it’s designed to. Instead, it will run off path and possibly even drip off your coil and run into your condensate line – which can spell out trouble for your AC.
And if you happen to notice tiny little droplets of water rather than a big pool of water, definitely look towards your evaporator coil as the potential source.
If this is the case, consider yourself lucky: all you will typically need is a good coil cleaning, but don’t try to do it yourself. As usual, we recommend leaving the job to a qualified HVAC professional so that you don’t cause any lasting damage to your coils.
Hopefully this guide offered you better insight on why your AC may be leaking.
Whatever the problem, don’t wait to get it fixed.
Call on Alpha Dog Air for all your HVAC Repair and replacement needs.