Leaking water from the indoor unit of your air conditioner is not a common occurrence. During Perth summers, homeowners want to make sure that their aircon will work efficiently. However, if you see that the AC is leaking, one of the first steps to take is to turn the unit off ASAP.
This blog post will tackle everything you need to know about leaking water issues associated with your split system air conditioner.
Learn why it’s dripping water inside and what you should do.
Leaking Water Causes
The indoor unit of your split system has an evaporator coil whose job is to cool warm air. The process leads to condensation, which means there’s moisture forming on the coil. It’s the same when you have a cold glass of water, and you see water droplets on the glass.
Normally, this moisture does not affect how your AC works. Water just drips straight into a drain pan, which will then head to a condensate drain line – the recognisable white PVC pipe. This drain leads out of your house, keeping the structure protected from any damage.
So, why is water leaking when it should be dripping out of your home?
Here are the main reasons:
1. You have a clogged condensate drain.
Blocked drains are the most common cause of water leaks from air conditioners. These drains can get blocked by the soil being built up around the end of the drain outside, by a rodent climbing up the drain from outside or by the drain hose being dislodged from the indoor unit. As a result, the water backs up and comes out of the indoor unit.
Fortunately, you can easily unclog it by making sure the end of the drain is clear of soil if there is a rodent stuck in your drain you will have to cut the drain off above where the rodent is and replace it, if the drain hose has become dislodged you can just reconnect it. You can also contact a professional who can remove the blockage for you.
2. Drain pan is either damaged or worn out.
If your aircon has been keeping your home comfortable for the past 10 years or so, the drain pan could be rusty. When it’s damaged, water just falls right through the pan. The only solution here is to replace it.
3. The condenser pump is broken.
Some AC units come with condensate pumps that expel the water outside. When this pump stops working, water will come out the front of the unit. You will need to have a professional check and replace the pump.
4. The air filter is dirty.
Dirt can block airflow in the evaporator coil, which is a typical occurrence when the air filter is dirty. If air does not flow freely, the coil can get extremely cold, causing it to freeze over. The frozen coil will then melt, and water will start dripping onto the drain pan.
Often, it is much more than the pan can handle, so it continues to leak out. Always ensure that your air filter is clean. Usually, the cleaning of the air filter is best performed once every three to six months.
5. You’re running low on refrigerant.
When your AC’s refrigerant is low, the system will show certain signs, including lower pressure. Because of this low pressure, the evaporator coil will freeze, just like a dirty air filter. Once that coil melts, water can overflow.
Another sign to watch out for is when you hear a bubbling or hissing sound. It indicates that the system is experiencing a refrigerant leak. You may be able to repair it, or you may have to replace the whole unit.
6. The aircon was not installed correctly.
If you notice that the air conditioner is suddenly leaking when it’s newly installed, there is clearly a problem with the installation. Contact the installers to come back and fix this problem to ensure that the system will continue to work without any further issues.
When homeowners see that the AC is leaking, one of their first concerns is whether it is going to damage their home. The problem with water damage in the home is that sometimes it’s difficult to locate the source. Water flows and moves around quickly. When you see the signs of wear, it usually indicates that the destruction has transferred to another place. Additionally, these damaged sites do not typically tell you where the leak began.
AC leaks can take place in areas of the house where there is the least resistance. Water will not stay confined, however. You can find water damage to any room in your house that the drain pipe from your ac runs past. In the case of a ducted system, it can be where the indoor unit is located because if the drainpipe is blocked or isn’t running downhill the water will fill the drain tray and then overflow.
Leaking systems can quickly soak everything, including your ceilings and skirtings. If your aircon is installed on the ground floor, it will ruin your floorboards and carpeting. You can call a maintenance specialist, but you have to act right away, especially when the leak starts to spread.
Often, leaks are not dangerous for you and your family since it’s only water. However, you should still have it repaired as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to your home.
Meanwhile, if the unit is low on refrigerant you will find when you turn on the AC and it takes a long time for the house to feel cool, it could be due to the refrigerant leak. You may also feel the aircon is blowing warm air instead of cool air like it usually did. You will probably notice ice has built upon the copper lines or evaporator coil.
Should You DIY or Hire an Expert to Repair Your Aircon?
When you see a puddle on the floor right under your aircon, it tells you the system is leaking. Fixing the problem may not be as complicated as you think, which is why some homeowners may try to solve leaks by themselves. However, if you do not have any experience repairing air conditioners and other electrical appliances, it is best to leave the job to experts.
Fixing a leak typically involves the following steps:
- Opening the front panel
- Removing air filters and ensuring they are clean when you put them back
- Removing screws and other covers
- Accessing the drainpipe, which is at the bottom of the unit
- Collecting water using a bucket
- Removing any tape or fitting connected to the drainpipe
- Draining the water from the pipe
- Finding the cause of the blockage
- Reinstalling or replacing the parts
If you’re a handyman, you probably want to attempt to fix your leaky aircon. But a bad leak can be challenging to handle even if you’re an efficient DIYer. If you already have structural damage and mould growth, you may want to call a professional instead. Likewise, a local contractor should assess the issue if you believe there is a refrigerant leak.
Is It Time to Replace or Upgrade Your Air Conditioner?
They say that prevention is always better than cure. In the case of aircon leaks, you’re probably wondering if the problem can be prevented. You do not realise that the unit is leaking water until you start noticing the damage in most situations. That’s why it is necessary to conduct routine inspections on the system. It will help catch small setbacks that can turn into significant issues that will eventually require aircon replacement.
Simply cleaning the filter regularly and keeping the condenser clear of debris will help. You do not need to be trained or experienced in fixing any issue. Even non-technical strategies will facilitate maintenance and ensure the unit lives a long life. For example, weatherstripping or insulating windows and doors can make it easier for your aircon to do its job.
For your outdoor unit, check that it has enough room so that it can run efficiently. Grass and weeds should be removed. You shouldn’t cover the front of your outdoor unit as this blocks the airflow from your unit and will cause it to fail.
If the aircon has been around for 10 years or more, it may be time to replace it. Quality aircon can last for about 15 years or so. We’ve written a blog post that guides homeowners in keeping their Daikin air conditioner working efficiently for years. However, you need to be more vigilant if you notice specific issues. Even insignificant ones can turn into a massive problem if you do not fix it right away. Repairs will be more expensive, especially with an older AC unit. It often makes sense to simply have a new one installed in your home.
Your aircon will tell you when it is time to let it rest.
Here are some signs to watch out for:
- It makes unusual sounds, such as loud grinding, rattling, and squealing.
- The thermostat does not work properly, leaving some zones uncooled.
- Airflow is not making you feel comfortable, and it just seems to be blowing room temperature air.
You can get a more in-depth look at the signs your aircon system requires replacement here. When it is time to replace your old unit, don’t hesitate to contact ACSIS Air, the most reputable aircon installers in Perth and WA.