If your air conditioner is working properly, there should never be water leaking inside of your house. The system is designed to capture condensation from the evaporator coils and either pump this water out of the house or into a floor drain. Still, there are several possible issues that can cause the water to back up and eventually overflow out of the drain pan. Most of the issues are fairly minor and simple to fix, but the leak could also indicate a more serious problem with your AC unit. For this reason, it is important that you have the issue looked at as soon as you spot the leak because it could be caused by any one of these problems.
Clogged Condensate Drain Line
A clogged condensate drain line is by far the most common cause of AC leaks. This line runs from the bottom of the drain pan and goes either outside of the house or into a floor drain. Over time, the line can become clogged with dirt, debris, or mold. When this happens, water will eventually start leaking out of the drain pan since it has nowhere else to go. Sometimes, the solution to this issue can be as simple as using a wet/dry vacuum on the line to see if you can suction out the clog. If this does not work, you will need to hire an AC contractor to unblock the line so that it drains properly.
Frozen Evaporator Coil
Leaks can also occur if your evaporator coil has frozen. When the coil starts to thaw, it can produce more water than the condensate line can handle. As a result, the drain pan will quickly fill up and start to overflow. The most common reason that the evaporator coil freezes is due to a dirty air filter. If the filter is too dirty, it restricts the airflow into the evaporator coil and will eventually cause it to get too cold and freeze up. The same issue can also occur if the condenser unit outside the house is dirty and cannot get enough airflow.
The evaporator coil can also freeze if there is not enough refrigerant in the system, and this is a much more serious problem. If left unchecked, it will eventually cause the condenser to overheat and burn out the motor. Unfortunately, the motor cannot be replaced, which means your only option in this situation is to replace the unit.
Rusty or Damaged Drain Pan
Another possible cause is that the drain pan itself is leaking due to it rusting through or otherwise being damaged. This is especially common with older AC units. Depending on your system, you may be able to simply replace the drain pan, or you may have to replace the entire evaporator coil assembly. This is because some drain pans are welded directly onto the bottom of the assembly and, as such, cannot be replaced.
Broken Condensate Pump
If your AC unit is in the basement, there is a good chance that it uses a condensate pump to move the water up and out of the house. If the pump is not working, water will start to back up and eventually overflow from the drain pan. Depending on what caused the pump to fail, you will either need to replace it or possibly have it repaired.
Clogged Floor Drain
Most AC systems use a condensate pump, but some systems are set up so that the condensate line goes into a floor drain. If this drain is clogged, the water obviously will not have anywhere to go and will start backing up inside the house. This issue should be extremely easy to spot since it will cause water to pool up around the floor drain. In this situation, you can try using a plunger to see if you can dislodge the clog. If this does not work, then you will need to hire a professional plumber to unclog the drain.
Professional Plumbing, Cooling, and Heating Services
At A To Z Dependable Services, we have been providing outstanding plumbing and HVAC services to customers in Niles for more than 60 years. If you are experiencing an AC leak, our experienced technicians can quickly identify the cause of the problem and determine the best solution. We specialize in plumbing and HVAC maintenance, repair, and installation, plus we offer 24/7 repair services in case of an emergency.
If the issue cannot be fixed, we can help you choose the best replacement equipment for your specific needs. Financing for new equipment is available on approved credit, and we offer special discounts for seniors, disabled persons, veterans, and military service members. For more information on AC repair or any of our other services, give A To Z Dependable Services a call today.