Why AC Water Leaks Need to Always Be Handled Immediately

Why AC Water Leaks Need to Always Be Handled Immediately

AC water leaks often happen out of sight of the occupants of the home. For that reason, they may inflict substantial water damage on the interior of the house before the leakage becomes noticeable.

Extracting water vapor from indoor air is a vital facet of the air-conditioning process. In humid summer weather, the indoor AC evaporator coil may generate more than 25 gallons of liquid condensate. Here are some ways that AC water leaks can inflict damage in your home.

  • Clogged drain line. Located beneath the AC evaporator coil in the indoor air handler, the drip pan catches condensation produced when warm, humid, indoor air passes through cold coil passageways. Clogs forming in the drip pan can block the flow of water into the drain line.  Clogs can be the result of algae forming in the condensate system as well as from debris such as insulation particles which may find their way into attic pans.  When that happens, the drip pan overflows every time the AC cycles on.
  • Leaking drip pan. Many AC drip pans are made of plastic. Over the years, the pan may become brittle and eventually crack. Continuous leakage — often unnoticed by occupants — can damage the home’s structure, causing wood rot and mold contamination.
  • Coil icing. Ice formation on the evaporator coil may extend beyond the limits of the drip pan below. Each time the system cycles off, this ice rapidly melts, and spillage may soak the flooring and/or walls around the indoor air handler.  

Prevention and Repair of AC Water Leaks

  • Annual preventive maintenance by a qualified HVAC technician includes a visual inspection of the AC condensate drain system.  If mold or algae is noted, cleaning the drip pan and drain pipe, as well as installing biocide tablets to prevent recurrence, is performed. For more comprehensive protection, an overflow switch can be installed to automatically shut down the AC.
  • Chronic ice formation on an air-conditioner evaporator coil — and the water leakage that may result — are usually signs of a system malfunction such as a low refrigerant charge. Professional HVAC service is required to check the refrigerant level, track down and repair any leaks, then restore the refrigerant to the proper specification.  

Ask the professionals at Powers Heating & Air about preventive maintenance and professional service to resolve AC water leaks.

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