An air conditioner air handler that is leaking water is one of the most common reasons for central-air service calls. Certainly, any leak needs to be resolved quickly, particularly if the air handler is installed above a ceiling and can drip downward. However, many small leaks are relatively easy for homeowners to repair themselves.
There are several common causes for central air conditioner system leaks. Read on to learn what they are and how to fix them.
Crack or hole in the overflow drain pan
The overflow pan catches the condensation from the A/C unit. A leak will result if the pan is damaged. Use a flashlight to locate the pan and carefully check each corner, along the outside edges, and directly above the wettest spot. If the hole or crack is small, it may just need to be patched with epoxy glue, but replacing the damaged pan is usually best.
Clogged air filter
A dirty, clogged filter will cause ice to form on the evaporator coils. When the ice melts, the water drips, resulting in a leak. Inspecting the air filter every month and changing it every one to three months, depending on how fast it fills up, will prevent a host of problems in addition to preventing leaks.
Blocked condensate line
The condensation that collects in the overflow plan is drained through the condensate line which moves the water directly outside or into a drain pipe. When the line is clogged, the water can’t drain properly and floods the overflow pan. Newer air conditioners have a cut-off switch to turn the system off when a clog in the line is detected. To clear the line, you can use a wet-dry vacuum to suck out the clog, or a hand pump to suck or blow the line clear. Simple regular maintenance to clean the line of slime, algae, mildew and bacteria will prevent clogs. Pour a small amount of chlorine beach through the line every four to six months.
Disconnected drain line
Drain pipe fittings can loosen over time or may have been improperly installed, resulting in a leak. Check the lines to make sure they are secure.
Not all leaks are water. Because of its toxic nature, any refrigerant (freon) leak should be addressed immediately by an HVAC technician to protect you and the environment. Low refrigerant is likely a sign of a bigger problem and should be addressed by a professional. Often, low refrigerant means the condenser could soon fail and you may need a new air conditioner.
Questions about a leak or other HVAC issues? Contact Indoor Air Quality today! We serve homes in Highlands Ranch and throughout the Denver Metro Area.