Four Outdoor AC Unit

Why Is My HVAC Leaking? Learn the Causes and How to Fix It!

As we are entering Spring, now is the time to test out your HVAC’s air conditioning and make sure it’s running smoothly. If it has sprung a leak, fix it now — you don’t want to be without A/C during the hot Summer months.

A leaking HVAC unit may start as an inconvenience but can quickly snowball into more and more issues. A leak that leads to water damage is a homeowner’s worst nightmare; repairing water damage is a costly and involved process. Water damage can lead to mold growth which is dangerous for you and your family.

It is important to learn why your HVAC is leaking and tackle the problem yourself before it gets out of hand.

7 Reasons an HVAC is Leaking And What You Can Do About It

If you’re not sure why your HVAC unit is making strange noises, smelling odd, or dripping freezing water, read below to learn why!

Before investigating any of these issues, make sure to turn your HVAC completely off, so you can safely identify the problem. Also, lay down a towel underneath your HVAC if you have to run it to soak up water and protect your floors.

1. Rusted Drain Pan

When’s the last time you bought a new A/C unit? Most old HVACs begin to rust after a few years, and if your drain pan is rusted through, there is no place for the water to collect.  A functioning HVAC should be sending all excess water out of your home. Any crack or damage to the drain pan makes it obsolete and ready for replacement.

Luckily all this requires to fix is a new drain pan. Make sure to purchase one that matches the make and model of your unit.

2. Dirty Coil

The evaporator coil is one of the most important parts of your A/C unit. This coil absorbs the humidity from inside your home to regulate heat. If the coil becomes dirty from a dust and grime build-up, it cannot properly regulate temperature and may become frozen solid! If you notice water dripping from the bottom of the unit, this could be due to melting ice on the evaporator coil.

Proper maintenance of your filter and refrigerant is the best way to prevent a dirty, frozen coil. A quick fix is to turn off your unit until it has thawed and stopped leaking, then addressing the potential causes below.

3. Dirty Air Filter

Air filters suck in everything from the room; dirt, dust, pet hair, and crumbs can all build up in an air filter. But a dirty air filter does more than blocking the flow of air. It can directly lead to a frozen evaporator coil. When air can’t properly reach the coil, it rapidly cools down until it freezes and begins to drip.

Replace your filter every 90 days, more often if you live in a hot climate.  But no matter where you live, make sure to remove and clean your air filter every few weeks. Use a towel to remove the grime, then soak the filter in soapy water until it is clean and transparent again. Make sure your filter is completely dry before replacing it in your unit.

White Building With External AC Fan

4. Low on Refrigerant

If you hear a hissing or popping coming from your A/C, this could be a sign you are losing refrigerant. While HVACs do not require regular refills, they can begin to leak after years of wear and tear, and you will need to replace the refrigerant.

When your A/C is having this problem, it is usually a sign of a greater issue that may require more assistance. Ask for professional advice before buying refrigerant. You don’t want to waste money until you isolate the root cause.

5. Clogged Drain Line

As your A/C converts moisture in the air to water, the drain line pumps it out and away from your home. But like any pipe, it can get clogged. When this happens, there is a backup, and the water has nowhere to go but on your floor. Mildew, grime, and even mold can live inside your drain pipe. If you notice a musty smell from your unit, this could sign a fungus in your unit.

About twice a year, you should flush out and sanitize the drain line. Locate the pipe on your unit, make sure the line is empty, and pour a warm mixture of bleach and water to kill any germs that may be growing inside.

6. Poor Installation

If the drain line was not properly fitted, water could leak at points where two pipes meet. If the unit is not perfectly level, water may fall back into your home rather than out through the pan or pipe. Proper installation is necessary to make sure your HVAC unit functions efficiently and effectively.

You can also install a float switch that will automatically shut off your unit when it senses a water buildup beyond a certain point. This is a great way to avoid unnecessary water damage to your home.

7. Poor Insulation

An HVAC runs best with a good seal between inside and outside. You wouldn’t run the system with the windows open, and a house with poor ventilation can be just as bad. An HVAC can’t handle cooling outside air and could leak from the strain.

Search your home for any potential drafts or cracks, and be sure to seal those right away. You can also call an expert to find gaps you might not even notice.

Maintain Your HVAC All Year Round

The best way to avoid leaks is to keep a close eye on your system and stop problems before they happen. Your HVAC doesn’t just control A/C but provides your home with regulated temperatures and ventilation all year long — once one problem shows up, it will start to affect all parts of the system and lead to major repairs.

It is best to have a professional come twice a year to take a look and make sure everything is functioning properly and safely. If you’ve had the same HVAC system for over 10 years, then it is time to start shopping for a replacement. A new HVAC will be more efficient and save you more money in the long run than constantly repairing a broken machine.

Talk to an Expert About Your Leaking HVAC

If you notice constant leaking and the home repair solutions above aren’t working, reach out to the team at All Dry USA, and we’ll be over to check it out and assess the problem. With over 10 years of damage repair expertise, we know HVACs, and we’ve seen every leak before. Call us now before Summer and stay cool all year long!

Ben Suiskind
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