What to Do If You Have Water Damage From an Air Conditioner
Homeownership is deeply rewarding. It is also a constant uphill battle.
No matter how perfect your home sweet home is, there will undoubtedly be frustrations and issues to face along the path. As appliances age and foundations slowly deteriorate, you will need to be highly diligent in identifying and solving problems before they get out of hand.
If you notice water damage from an air conditioner unit in your home, you’re not alone. This problem is quite common, but one that many homeowners miss until the damage has already occurred. But you can still minimize the impact by acting quickly and taking crucial actions.
If you discover water damage from a leaking air conditioner, here’s what to do.
Why Do Air Conditioners Leak?
AC units contain many individual components that work together to cool your home. If any one of those individual parts isn’t working effectively, the whole system can get thrown into disarray, and your AC unit may begin to leak.
Here are some of the most common reasons an air conditioner may leak and cause water damage.
- A dirty air filter that needs replacing
- Clogged drain
- Cracked drain pan
- Inadequate levels of refrigerant
- The evaporator coil needs cleaning
- Condensation buildup
While these are the main culprits, a leak can spring for many reasons. Almost all issues stem from poor maintenance.
5 Steps To Take If Your AC Unit Is Leaking
Discovering water damage from a leaking AC unit is a nightmare. But with a few concrete steps, you may be able to get the issue back under control on your own. If you’re up for trying a DIY remedy, here are the essential steps.
1. Shut Everything Off
The first thing you need to do is make sure the damage doesn’t worsen. It means shutting off the source of the damage: the AC unit.
By turning off the unit, you minimize the chance of continued leakage causing the damage. If the leak continues, place towels or a bucket to collect any additional leakage.
2. Assess the Situation
Next, you’ll need to look at what you’re up against to assess the situation. How extensive is the damage? Is this a project you can handle yourself, or do you need to call in a professional?
There is no shame in reaching out for help if that’s what it takes to get the situation remedied quickly.
3. Dry the Area Thoroughly
All standing water should be mopped or soaked up with towels. Use a wet vac for carpeted areas.
Even after removing standing water, eliminating any moisture from the area is imperative, as this is the prime growing condition for mold and mildew.
Position fans to circulate air through the area to aid in drying. If you can open a window in the room, do so. A dehumidifier can also come in handy.
4. Check for Mold Growth
Once the area is on its way to being dry, inspect all surfaces for signs of mold or mildew growth. Mold often grows in small spots in various colors and has a distinct musty scent.
Mold can sneakily grow in walls and places you wouldn’t expect, so remain vigilant and check all surrounding areas, even if they were not in direct contact with the leak. The high humidity levels can allow mold to fester in unexpected places.
5. Make Necessary Fixes
Next, you’ll need to tackle repairs. This step includes fixing or replacing the leaky AC unit and remedying any physical damage to walls and floors. Patch ruined drywall and paint as needed.
If the damage is extensive, it may be best to call in a professional to ensure the job gets done right.
Can You Prevent AC Leak Problems?
No appliance is foolproof. But one great way to minimize the chance of an AC leak is regular inspection and maintenance.
Check and clean condensation lines frequently, maintain refrigerant levels, and replace AC filters regularly. Investing in prevention will save you time and loads of money in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions? We’ve got you covered. Here are some common FAQs about water damage from leaking AC units.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage From Leaking Air Conditioner?
According to a US News report, AC units and water damage are “sometimes covered” by homeowner’s insurance, but not always. Often, if the water damage is due to a lack of maintenance of household appliances, the insurance company will reject your claim.
Be diligent in searching for the best insurance policy to suit your needs as a homeowner. If you’re moving into a home with an older AC unit, it may be wise to select a coverage plan that includes repair or replacement for a leaking air conditioner.
If you notice issues with any appliances, act quickly to prevent more significant issues from cropping up down the road.
Can a Leaking AC Cause Mold?
Mold can wreak havoc on health, especially for children or people struggling with conditions like asthma.
Because mold thrives in damp, dark environments, a leaking AC can lead to mold growth over time if left unattended. Once a mold infestation begins, it can require a considerable investment of time and money to remedy the issue.
Regular AC maintenance and checking for leaks can help prevent mold and mildew.
Like all things, household appliances have an expected lifespan. As your AC unit nears the end of its life, issues will become more frequent. While there is no surefire way to prevent this decline, you can keep your machine in excellent working condition and prevent nasty water damage in your home by conducting essential, routine maintenance.