Your air conditioner is meant to remove humidity and keep your indoor air comfortable, but if something goes wrong, leaks are a possibility. When you notice water dripping from part of your AC system, it is certainly stressful. However, you don’t need to panic. Simply turning off the AC will usually stop the leak, and once you find the cause, it’s typically easy to fix. Why do central air conditioners sometimes leak water? Here are the most common causes of a drippy air conditioner.
1. Clogged Condensate Drain Line
The most frequent cause of a leaking air conditioner is a clogged drain line. Your air conditioner is constantly pulling water from the air. This air is supposed to collect in a drain pan and then flow outside. However, the narrow drain line can be a point of vulnerability in the whole system.
It is very easy for a drain line to get clogged. In some cases, the drain line is clogged with dirt or debris because your air filter was dirty. Drain lines also tend to be humid, so mold and mildew growth can lead to clogs. Sometimes, a drain line clog can even be due to something like an insect crawling up into the line from outside. Whatever the cause, a drain line clog is usually very easy to fix. An HVAC service technician just has to clear the clog and clean the drain line.
2. Failed Condensate Pump
Not all central air conditioners will have a condensate pump. This component is only necessary if your drain line is positioned in a way that prevents gravity from letting condensate drip downwards. If you do have a condensate pump, it’s worth checking whenever you notice water coming from your air conditioner.
Condensate pumps can easily fail, and when this happens, water can start backing up. You can often check your condensate pump simply by adding water to the drain pan and listening to see if the pump switches on. However, if the pump isn’t running, it can indicate that a valve or other part of the pump is wrong. Fortunately, a broken condensate pump isn’t typically a huge issue. It can often be fixed by just replacing a few small parts, or the whole pump can be swapped out with ease.
3. A Broken Drain Pan
The typical central air conditioner pulls humidity out of the air which then condenses in a pan before flowing into a drain line. These broad pans are very durable, but they aren’t entirely foolproof. The typical steel pan can start to rust and corrode after about 20 years, while a polymer pan takes a little longer. Even if your pan isn’t extremely old, damage to it can still cause a leak to happen.
You can typically identify a drain pan leak by following the source of the drips. Another sign of a drain pan leak is an air conditioner that drips even though all other parts of it are functioning properly. If you have a leaky drain pan, a full replacement is usually recommended. Sealing the leaky spot is a helpful and quick fix, but it’s not a permanent solution.
4. Frozen Evaporator Coil
Not all drippy air conditioners are caused by problems with your condensate system. It can also be due to a frozen evaporator coil. The evaporator coil contains chilled refrigerant that helps pull heat from your air. However, if it can’t cool air in time, cold air starts to build up, and the coil eventually freezes. Ice forms on the outside of the coil, and then it inevitably melts into a big puddle.
If the water seems to be dripping from inside your unit, the evaporator coil is probably the culprit. You can confirm by opening up the unit and looking for ice. Actually fixing the problem will require you to address the underlying cause. In some cases, you just need to speed up airflow by swapping out filters or fixing a damaged fan. In other situations, it might be necessary to patch a refrigerant leak or replace a collapsed air duct.
If your air conditioner is dripping water, Texas Pride Heating & Air is here to help. Our fully trained technicians can determine the source of the leak and recommend ways to fix it. In addition to offering repairs, we also provide a variety of maintenance and installation services. You can count on us to help with your heaters, air conditioners, and more. To schedule your service appointment with Texas Pride Heating & Air of Southlake, contact our team today.