A/C Water Leaks: What Causes Them and How Can You Prevent It?

Because an air conditioner produces something more than cool comfort, A/C water leaks are a threat in summer. The “something more” is water, and a lot of it. Humidity extraction is a critical element of the cooling process—that's why it's called an air conditioner, not simply an air cooler. The system condenses water vapor at the evaporator coil located inside the indoor air handler. On a humid summer day, a large central A/C may produce over 20 gallons of condensation. When all that liquid doesn't go to the right place, A/C water leaks happen and property damage results.

Here are the two main suspects for A/C water leaks:

  • Clogged condensate drain line " A pan beneath the air handler collects extracted condensation and diverts the flow into a line that's usually plumbed to a household drain or empties outdoors. Condensate drain line clogs may originate from a variety of sources, but the most common is algae growth in the drain pan. To prevent water damage, an HVAC contractor can install an overflow sensor that automatically shuts down the system if the drain pan fills. In addition, regular home A/C checkups usually include cleaning the drain pan and placing time-release biocide tablets to inhibit algae growth.
  • Cracked or tilted condensate pan " The condensate drain pan itself is subject to vibration and other stresses that may damage or dislodge the pan so it doesn't properly retain water. Water leaking from the drain pan may silently damage the structure of the home and/or possessions before it's discovered, as well as create a breeding ground for toxic mold. Annual inspections by an HVAC technician at the beginning of the cooling season can detect condensate drain pan defects before leakage strikes.

For more information on preventing A/C water leaks, contact the water damage experts at Rytech.

Image via Shutterstock.com