Central air-conditioning units aren’t supposed to leak. Unlike window units, they have built-in draining systems designed to eliminate condensation, so if your unit leaks, there’s no denying that you have an issue. Leaks aren’t always serious, however; nor do they automatically lead to a costly repair. The most common causes are problems that you can fix yourself when you find yourself asking, why is my AC unit leaking?
The Drain Pan Is Cracked
At this point, you just have to hope that your leak isn’t serious. The best case scenario is a cracked drain pan, so check that first. A crack in the drain pan is one of the easiest explanations for a leak. It’s also the quickest fix.
Shine a light along the corners and the outer edges of the pan. If all else fails, locate the wettest spot on the floor and examine the pan directly above that spot. To fix this issue, you can either replace the pan entirely or try to plug the crack with a waterproof substance or a patch.
The Filter Is Filthy
A clogged filter leads to leaks. That, too, is a quick and easy fix. In fact, taking care of the filter is a routine part of air conditioner maintenance. Check your filter regularly, and you’ll reduce the risk of a leak.
You need to replace your filter every month or two. However, during late spring, summer, and early fall, take a look at the filter at least once a month. As soon as it appears dingy or dirty, change it at once. A dirty filter disrupts the unit’s ability to cool and evaporate properly. A clogged filter leads to leakage because it causes ice to form on the evaporator coils of the unit; when it melts, the water drips.
The Condensate Line Is Clogged
Of all the possible causes behind a leaky air-conditioning unit, a clogged up condensate line is the most likely culprit. Condensation forms as the air conditioner cools down the hot, humid air, so you may see condensation on the outside of the unit. This moisture has to go somewhere, so the condensate line either drains the water outside through the drain pan or straight into a drainpipe. If something stops up the line, then the condensation gets backed up and causes the pan to overflow.
There are various ways to unclog the condensate line on your own. A wet/dry vacuum is a favorite option. You can use it to suck the clog right out of the line. There are also hand pumps that can either suck out clogs or blow air through clogged lines. Prevention is the best cure in this instance, though. Regularly clear out your condensate line so that it doesn’t have the chance to get stopped up with mildew, algae, or other accumulation.
Bear in mind that newer air-conditioning units also have a water overflow cut-off switch designed to shut down the unit if the condensate line gets clogged. Don’t panic just because your air conditioner stops working. You will need to call a professional HVAC tech if the line isn’t clogged. If it is, clear it out and then try to turn on the unit.
If you’ve ever dealt with a leaking or broken air-conditioning unit, you may be tempted to try to fix it yourself. Routine maintenance is the key to an easy do-it-yourself experience.