Leaking Air Conditioner? Here’s What to Do

Leaking Air Conditioner? Here's What to DoA leaking air conditioner can cause substantial household water damage. The evaporator coil located in the indoor air handler of your central A/C extracts many gallons of water vapor from the air every day as part of the cooling and dehumidifying process. All that water has to go somewhere. If the system’s functioning right, liquid condensate collects in a drip pan beneath the air handler, then flows into a drain line connected to your home’s sewer pipe. If it’s not, a leaking air conditioner may pour many gallons of water into your house as long as the unit is on and running.

What Goes Wrong

Most leaks are caused by a clogged drain line. Usually, algae or mold forming in the drip pan eventually clogs the line, causing the pan to overflow. Occasionally, the pan itself may deteriorate and water may leak out through a crack or hole. Sometimes vibration of the air handler will dislodge a drip pan, causing it to tip and spill water.

What To Do

  • If you notice water on the floor near the indoor air handler — or dripping through the ceiling if the unit is installed in the attic — immediately turn off the air conditioner at the thermostat and call your HVAC contractor.
  • A qualified service tech will drain the pan and pinpoint the clog. If algae or mold is present in the pan, he’ll disinfect the drain pan and blow out the drain line to remove the obstruction. After free flow is restored, the technician can install time-release biocide tablets in the pan to continuously inhibit algae growth for the entire summer.
  • If the drip pan is damaged and leaking, it can be replaced. A loose or dislodged pan can be permanently secured so vibration will not affect it.
  • Ask your HVAC contractor about a safety float switch. This useful preventive device automatically shuts off power to the A/C if the drip pan fills up, preventing water damage from a leaking air conditioner before it happens.

For professional service to deal with a leaking air conditioner, in Middletown contact C.R. Wolfe Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Middletown, New York about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about a leaking a/c and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 845-367-4482.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “iQoncept/Shutterstock”

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