A Basic Guide To Home AC Unit Leaks

Some water around your AC unit is normal. If it is enough to cause issues, or if it occurs in conjunction with other problems, then a repair is likely necessary.  

Symptoms of AC Water Leaks

Standing water is the most obvious sign of a leaking AC. Although it's normal for a small amount of condensation to drain from the AC, it's a problem if the amount of water is overflowing the drip pan beneath your unit or pooling around it. For rooftop mounted units, you may even notice water leaking into your attic beneath the AC location.

There may also be other symptoms, such as rust or corrosion developing on the outside of the unit, icing up of the evaporator coils, or a bad odor from organic growth in the full drip pan. On ground units, you may even notice increased plant growth near the AC pad, thanks to the extra water that is draining out of it.

Common Causes of Leaks

Clogs in the drain line or drain pan are frequently the cause of a leak. Usually, there will be no issues with the AC other than a leak when drain clogs are the problem. Clogs can be caused by debris in the pan or from the growth of algae and biofilm in the drain line. Sometimes the issue is with the pan itself, as a crack can cause water to leak out before it can drain safely away.

If you are having other issues with your AC, such as poor cooling or icing up, then the issue could be with low refrigerant or a dirty air filter. Icing up and poor cooling are common symptoms of a low refrigerant level. Dirty air filters or dirt in the system can result in condensation buildup, icing up, poor cooling, and reduced airflow. The AC may also be more prone to overheating.

Repair Options

Drainage system problems are the simplest to repair. The drain pan, drain, and condensate line will need to be cleaned out and treated with a bleach solution to kill any algae or bacteria. If the condensate line is badly blocked, it may simply be easier to replace it. Damaged drain pans will also require replacement.

Dirt in the system requires a good cleaning. Air filters must be changed, and a technician should take apart the unit and clean out the blower assembly and evaporator coils as well. The tech will also test refrigerant levels. If they are low, then the leak must be found and repaired before more refrigerant can be added.

Contact an AC repair service if you notice water around your exterior AC unit and need AC repairs.


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