As a homeowner, seeing AC vents leak water is alarming. Mold growth, property damage, and costly repairs can quickly result from this problem if you don’t address it right away. But why do your AC vents leak water in the first place?
Let the HVAC experts at A+ Air Conditioning explain more about what causes your air conditioner vents to leak, and learn troubleshooting tips to remedy the situation.
Let the Gainesville HVAC experts at A+ Air Conditioning explain more about what causes your air conditioner vents to leak, and learn troubleshooting options to remedy the situation.
Why Is My AC Vent Leaking Water?
Let’s start with the basics: An air conditioner works by absorbing the warm air and moisture from your home and changing it to cool air. When the air is pulled in, condensation drips from the AC coils to what’s called a drip pan. From there, the water is flushed out of your home through a drain pipe/line.
Routine HVAC maintenance will keep all of the parts of your air conditioner working efficiently. While you can perform some of the maintenance yourself, more complex issues require professional assistance.
Below are the most common reasons why an air conditioner leaks water and what you can do about it.
5 Causes of AC Vent Water Leaks
1. Clogged condensate drain line.
Leaks can occur when the drain pipe becomes clogged with mold, mildew, dust, and sludge. This is inevitable over time since it’s a dark, enclosed space specifically designed to filter out water. This is why it’s so important to do routine HVAC maintenance checks. The pipe drain will be flushed to prevent clogs from occurring and prolong the lifespan of the air conditioning system.
2. Damaged or decayed drain pan.
The drip pan we mentioned above could become rusted, especially in the Florida humidity. If this happens, when condensation drips into the pan, the water can leak out to the vents. Write down or take a screenshot of the make and model of your AC and purchase a new drip pan from a hardware store.
3. Broken condensate pump.
The water inside a condensate line is pumped out of your home by a part called the condensate pump. If the pump motor is faulty, it won’t be able to drain water from the line.
4. Refrigerant leak.
When the refrigerant in your air conditioner is low, it will cause the evaporator coil to freeze over. When the coils thaw, the water overflows in the drain pan. If the refrigerant leak is significant, the entire AC system may need to be replaced. Contact A+ immediately if you believe your refrigerant is leaking. This is crucial since prolonged exposure to refrigerant leaks could lead to poisoning.
This could be a possibility if, in addition to the leaks, you’ve noticed frost forming on the condenser unit, a hissing sound from your AC when you turn it on, or if your air conditioner is not cooling the air.
5. Dirty air filter.
If you don’t change your air filters regularly, dirt will cake on the filters, blocking air flow. Once condensation starts forming on the coils, instead of dripping into the drip pan, they’ll freeze. But since your air conditioner is not a refrigerator, that ice will start melting at some point. As that happens, your AC will drip water.
To prevent this from happening, change the filters regularly. Take into account the following factors to figure out how often you should change them: How many people live in your home? Does anyone smoke on the home? Do you have any pets? Are there any allergy sufferers in the home? Do you burn scented candles in the home? As a general rule, a filter with a higher MERV rating will last longer.
What Should I Do About a Clogged Drain Line?
While a professional AC technician will be glad to help, a homeowner can usually fix a clogged drain line without professional help. If you feel comfortable giving it a shot, follow these steps: (If the condensate pump is broken, contact us immediately.)
Step 1. Turn off the AC unit.
Step 2. Empty the drain pan using a wet/dry shop vac (you may use another method, but this is the easiest way).
Step 3. Remove any debris from the drain and surrounding area. Check the end of the drainpipe, which is located outside your home, to see if anything is blocking it. Make sure it’s all clear. You should also trim nearby low-hanging branches and bushes to prevent foliage from falling into your AC unit.
Step 4. Remove the cap from the top of the drainpipe and use a small, sturdy wire brush to clear the blockage.
Step 5. When the pipe appears to be clear, pour a cup of bleach into the drip pan and on top of the drainpipe. This is to help remove any algae or other growth you might have missed and will prevent it from growing back anytime soon.
Step 6. Replace the cap and turn your air conditioner back on. If the problem continues, contact a professional AC technician.
For more information on how to clean your AC Condensate Drain Line, check out our blog: How to Clean Your AC Condensate Drain Line With Vinegar
AC Maintenance Helps Prevent Water Leaks
Instead of coming home to an inconvenient surprise of water leaking from your AC, schedule a preventive maintenance visit with A Plus Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.
In addition to making sure your drain line is clear, we’ll inspect each part of your air conditioner to make sure everything is running smoothly and is properly tuned. Call (352) 374-4988 or schedule an appointment online today!