It’s almost time for air-conditioner season (aka summer). AC units of all shapes, sizes and types will be humming away across the Kansas City Metro area, helping to keep folks, and their homes, cool, calm and collected. As long as they are in good working order that is, and sometimes ‘little problems’, that are easy overlooked, can lead to big problems.
For example, does your air conditioner or central air conditioner leak when it’s been running for a while? It might, as and, in part, that can be normal. An air conditioner does its work in by extracting moisture from the air (that nasty humid stuff that can make life in summer so very miserable) and so on a day when your A/C is working very hard, one of those really hot July scorchers perhaps, it may indeed ‘sweat’ a little.
However, an air conditioner that leaks often or too much, whether it is a removable window mounted machine or a part of a central air system, can cause all kinds of damage, especially in terms of water damage, and water damage is no joke.
Why is My Central Air Conditioner Leaking?
There are in several different reasons why a central air conditioning unit might leak water. As it does its work, as we previously mentioned, the central air conditioner will expel a little water as moisture is removed from the air.
If all is working as it should be, this water is collected in the condensate drain and carried into the plumbing system or someplace safely outside of the house. If you notice water dripping from the air conditioning unit into this pan or drain this is normal, everything is working well. If, on the other hand a central air conditioner is leaking water on the floor, ceiling or into a wall, the potential for water damage to the home is not just possible, it is imminent and you’ll need to act fast.
Reasons why central air conditioners may leak too much water include:
Clogged Condensate Drain
In central air conditioning systems, a clogged condensate drain may lead to water to leaking. This, fortunately, is one of the least expensive air conditioning problems to deal as the pipes that drain the water will simply need to be cleaned. This can be achieved by flushing with water or vacuuming out the debris (remembering to turn the power off first of course) Alternately, and more sensibly, you can call in an HVAC tech and the chances are that all it will cost you is a service visit. Calling in the pros will allow for your unit to be properly checked out, in case there is more going on than just a clogged drain.
Leaky Drainage Pipes
A leak in the drainage pipe system is another rather common cause of AC leakage. Replacing a leaky pipe is a job for the pros though and one that should be commissioned as soon as possible to avoid permanent water damage.
If a central air conditioner is working extremely hard in very high temperatures it is not unusual for ice to begin forming in the evaporator coil. When the ice melts, the water it becomes will leak out. If you do suspect that a coil has frozen, turn off the system for a few hours to allow the ice to melt, making sure to blot up any leaking water right away. If this happens more than once or twice, you should call in the HVAC pros to diagnose the problem further as soon as possible.
Misplaced Condensate Pan
If the condensate pan shifts, which can happen, this too will cause excess water leakage. This should also be a pretty easy fix; simply check the pan and if it has indeed tilted out of position put it back in the right place.
Leaking Window Air Conditioners
As handy and inexpensive as they are, window air conditioners can often cause even more water damage, as they may leak right onto the window sill, damaging it permanently and certainly giving mold and mildew the chance to take hold and do its damage.
Most often, a window A/C will leak because it is not level. If the unit was installed at a forward tilt, the condensate water may leak inside your home. To fix this problem, your AC unit simply needs to be tilted slightly forward so that the water flows freely outside the home. This summer may be a great time to consider more permanent and advanced air conditioning solutions though, as they are often cheaper and easier to install and maintain than you might think.
In conclusion, most of these leakage issues are a relatively cheap and easy fix, so never be tempted to put them off, as the water damage that could result if you do so will almost always be more expensive to fix.
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