If your Scottsdale home is experiencing an AC leak, you may wonder if you are dealing with an issue that requires extensive repairs. It is helpful if you understand the causes of air conditioner leaks so you can accurately convey to a professional what’s going on.

Dirty Air Filters

The filter in your HVAC system protects your unit and household air from harmful particulates. However, filters become dirty over time, potentially impacting your air conditioner’s performance.

When your air filter is dirty, it obstructs proper airflow, making it difficult for air to reach the evaporator coil. As a result, the evaporator coil can get excessively cold and freeze over. When you turn off your unit, the evaporator coil heats back up. This causes frost and ice to melt and produce water. This water can eventually leak out of your HVAC unit.

In order to prevent such issues, it is important to ensure that your filters are clean. Most filters should be changed every 30 to 90 days, depending on the type you use. This will protect the air quality in your home and prevent leaks caused by frozen evaporator coils.

Improper Installation

If your home’s air conditioner unit is not installed correctly, you may experience leakage outside the unit. If you notice leakage and also observe that your air conditioner struggles to maintain a consistent temperature in your home, it could indicate inadequate insulation work.

Improper installation, such as uneven AC unit installation, can also lead to leaks. In such cases, homeowners should refrain from attempting to repair it on their own. This requires professional expertise to address the issue.

Damaged Drain Pan

Your air conditioner naturally produces condensation during its normal operation. One of the reasons for this is that an air conditioner helps reduce humidity by absorbing heat through the refrigerant in the evaporator coil. The resulting moisture is directed to a drain pan.

Over time, a drain pan can develop cracks and other damage that make it vulnerable to water leaks. This water can cause damage to your walls and potentially lead to damage. The best solution is to have the damaged drain pan replaced by a qualified HVAC professional.

Low Refrigerant

Air conditioning units require refrigerant to effectively cool your home. If your AC unit has a refrigerant leak, it can impact the performance of your HVAC system. When the refrigerant level is low, the evaporator coil can freeze over. This can lead to water leakage when the unit heats up, as well as affect the internal pressure of your air conditioning unit. If you notice a water leak or hear bubbling or hissing sounds, this can be an indication of low refrigerant. It is crucial to take prompt action to prevent further damage. If you do not fix the refrigerant leak, the accompanying water leak will seem minor in comparison to the damage that will eventually be done to your AC unit.

Clogged Condensation Drain Line

A very common reason for a leak in your air conditioning unit is a clogged drain line. This clog can be caused by the accumulation of debris and dirt that is collected during the dehumidification process. This moisture travels down the condensation drain line, leaving residue on the inside of the line. Over time, this residue accumulates. Mold and mildew can form, causing a blockage.

In order to prevent this issue, some newer air conditioners are equipped with a shut-off switch that automatically turns off the unit if it detects a dirty condensate drain line. This is an effective feature to safeguard your home from potential damage caused by leaks.

Clogged drain lines can also be caused by mineral deposits that are a result of hard water in your home.

Disconnected Drain Line

Improper installation or a malfunction of the drain line placement can result in water leaks from your air conditioning unit. If the drain line disconnects, water may collect on the floor or leak through the ceiling, depending on the location of your HVAC unit. This issue can be prevented through annual AC maintenance. The condensation line and its connections are typically checked during routine maintenance to ensure proper function.

Damaged Float Switch or Condensate Pump

If your central HVAC unit is located in an area where gravity doesn’t allow for easy drainage from the condensate line, it may not be easy for water to flow away from your HVAC unit. In such cases, a condensate pump plays a crucial role in removing water from the system.

When the water level in the condensation pump rises, the float switch on the pump is activated. This signals the pump to start removing excess water. However, if the float switch is broken or the condensate pump malfunctions, it won’t be able to move the water where it needs to go. As a result, water will accumulate. A persistent leak from your air conditioner may become noticeable. Fixing this issue requires the specialized training of an HVAC technician.

Dirty or Damaged Coils

Air conditioners require annual service and maintenance in order to function at their best. Part of professional air conditioner maintenance is cleaning the evaporator coil and the condenser coil. With time, dust and debris will accumulate on them. This affects the functionality of the coils, potentially leading to excessive condensation where you do not want it to be. Condensation, coupled with the air conditioning process, leads to the creation of ice. When a dirty air coil heats up, the ice that has built up will melt, leading to leaks.

Outdoor Condensation

Some air conditioning leaks cannot be avoided and are not a big issue. For example, it’s normal to see a small puddle of water under your outdoor unit now and again. This condensation is common in extremely hot or humid weather. Your system may be working extra hard in the heat. If the problem is ongoing and doesn’t go away with a change in weather patterns, it’s probably time to schedule an appointment with a professional.

Work with Scottsdale’s Top Plumbing and HVAC Specialist

At AC by J, our team is ready to show you why we are essential for all of your HVAC needs. Every job we perform receives our full attention. Our knowledge and expertise ensure our team’s ability to provide superior HVAC services in our area.

Our services include HVAC installation, maintenance and repair. We install ductless mini splits, ventilation, dehumidifiers and UV lights that improve indoor air quality. We offer home energy audits and install whole-house fans and air scrubbers. Our plumbing services range from pipe repair to tankless water heaters. Contact AC by J today to schedule an appointment for routine maintenance or repairs.

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