The hot and humid summers in Downers Grove, IL create a lot of work for your air conditioner. You might notice that your air conditioner is straining under the workload, and one of the earliest signs of a problem is a water leak. Consider these five possible reasons why your AC is leaking water and what you should do if you notice a puddle or active water leak near your home’s cooling system.
1. Clogged Condensate Drainpipe
Modern air conditioning systems include an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit contains the evaporator coil, air handler, condensate pan, and drainpipe. When the cold refrigerant passes through the evaporator coil, the blower pushes warm air from your home over it.
Moisture from the warm air condenses into water when it comes into contact with the cold coil. That moisture collects in the drain pan and flows into the condensate drainpipe. A clog in the drainpipe will cause water to leak near the bottom of the air handling unit. You may notice a puddle on the floor or water seeping out of the pipe’s joints. Routine maintenance prevents clogged condensate pipes. You can sanitize the pipe for yourself or arrange for a springtime AC tune-up with our technicians at Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc..
2. Rusted Drain Pan
A rusted drain pan may also cause a leaky air conditioner. This is most common in older air conditioners. When water sits in the drain pan, bacteria will grow in it. The bacterial waste products include acids that degrade the metal, resulting in holes and cracks in the drain pan. Minerals in the water may also promote corrosion and rust in the drain pan. A drain pan replacement may be needed in order to stop the leak. It’s best to leave this repair to trained professionals.
3. Dirty Air Filter
Running your air conditioner with a dirty air filter will lead to an array of problems, including the potential for leaks. The dirty filter impedes airflow over the evaporator coil. This will cause the coil to get extremely cold. When your home’s warm air comes into contact with the frigid evaporator coil, it condenses into water. This water drips into the unit, eventually creating a leak. The moisture may damage the unit, resulting in premature failure of your air conditioner. We recommend changing your AC’s filter every month.
4. Frozen Evaporator Coil
A frozen evaporator coil may also cause AC leaks. When warm, moist air comes into contact with the frozen coil, the moisture condenses into water and instantly freezes. When the cooling cycle ends, the evaporator coil thaws. The increase in temperature melts the accumulated ice on the coil, creating a leak. Evaporator coils are fragile, and too many freeze and thaw cycles could cause the coils to crack or fail. A broken evaporator coil may require the replacement of your whole air conditioning system. If you notice any leak or puddle near the indoor unit, call for a repair as quickly as possible.
5. Low Refrigerant Level
Air conditioners use a chemical refrigerant to transfer heat energy from your home to the outdoors. If the refrigerant leaks out of the tubing or coils, your air conditioner won’t have enough cooling capacity. As the coolant leaks, the system’s pressure level drops. Low pressure levels cause the evaporator coil to get too cold. The coil may freeze, resulting in ice buildup and melting water when the cooling cycle ends.
If enough of the refrigerant leaks, your air conditioner’s safety limit switch may activate. Once activated, this switch prevents your air conditioner from cycling. Listen for a hissing or bubbling sound near the indoor and outdoor units. If you catch the leak in its early stage, our technicians may be able to repair it. If the leak isn’t detected early enough, you may end up needing to replace your entire cooling system.
If you’re not in need of air conditioner repair services today, our team at Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. also offers heating repairs and heating and cooling maintenance, installation, and replacement in Downers Grove. Our indoor air quality solutions help you breathe easier. If you’re a Downers Grove area business owner, you can also count on Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. for reliable commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services. For more info on why air conditioners leak water or to schedule a service visit, reach out to us any time.