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Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water?

For many homeowners, one of the most panic-inducing sights is coming home to see water spilling out from the closet that the indoor unit of their air conditioner is kept in is leaking water. Sometimes this is a fairly slow leak, with nothing more than maybe a couple drips of water and some signs of staining to show that it’s wet inside. In rare instances the leak can be faster.

This water comes from the fact that the heating and cooling process naturally produces condensation on your heating coils as air temperatures drop and water vapor condenses into actual water on the coils themselves. Generally this water drains away through a drain pan below the system that’s connected to a drain line. However, sometimes the water doesn’t drain away and simply builds up. Here is why this happens and whether or not you should be concerned.

Clogged Condensate Drain Lines

A clogged drain line can happen from many different things. An accumulation of dust and debris or even a tuft of pet hair can eventually form a clog that backs up your drain line and prevents water from coming through. The easiest way to try and clear this out is with a coat hanger or other thin solid wire that you can stick down the line to try and dislodge the clog. However, if the clog refuses to go, you may want to consider using a vacuum on the other end of the line to try and suck the clog all the way down and allow the water to drain again.

Damaged Drain Pan

Drain pans are generally able to last up to about 15 years before they start to rust and decay. When this happens, it’s only a matter of time before they also start to leak, dealing damage to your home. It’s a good idea to replace your drain pan whenever you replace your air conditioner, however you may need to do it early as well if your system outlasts the drain pan.

Low Refrigerant

Air conditioning and heating systems require an exact amount of refrigerant pressure in the lines in order to operate optimally. If there’s even a small leak in the refrigerant lines, this pressure can drop, causing the evaporator coil to freeze over from being unable to transfer heat properly. When the coil freezes, safety controls shut the system off until the frost melts. When the frost melts, it has to have somewhere to go, and that means a good amount of it will flood into your drain pan.

If you’re noticing an unusual amount of water in your drain pan, you may have a serious issue with your air conditioner. Call a Palm Beach County air conditioning expert at Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC by dialing (888) 660-4337 to schedule a diagnostic service.
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