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Why is my HVAC Unit Leaking Water?

In order for your air conditioner to cool, warm air must be pulled across the cold evaporator coil. When this happens, latent heat is removed from the air and cold air is blown out the supply ducts. Unfortunately, this process creates condensation, which is where the problems arise.

Water from the grills or ceiling:

If you notice water dropping from your supply grills, it’s likely that the ductwork is poorly insulated. If the ductwork is not properly sealed and insulated – especially if it runs through unconditioned areas like attics – the temperature difference between the air inside the duct and outside the duct can cause condensate to form. When this happens, the condensate can drop out of the supply duct and leave ugly water stains on your ceiling and even lead to mold problems. Make sure your ductwork is properly sealed, secured and insulated from start to end!

Water from the unit:

As stated above, condensate will naturally form during the cooling process. Typically, the water will drip into the condensate drain pan and eventually out the condensate drain line. However, if you are noticing condensate originating from your air conditioner, there could be numerous problems, as explained below.

Condensate line blockage - many times, the issue is simply that the drain line is stopped up. This can easily be resolved by using a wet-dry vacuum to suck out all dirt that is clogging the line. Also, we suggest cleaning the evaporator coil at this time, since that is likely where all the dirt, dust and debris originated from.

Frozen evaporator coil – if system isn’t getting enough air flow across the coils, it’s possible that the condensate will begin to build up and freeze on the coils themselves, rather than the condensate falling into the drain pan. In order to defrost the coil, it is best that the unit is shut off but the fan is left running. While possible but not likely, this defrosting can lead the drain pan to overflow with condensate.

Drain pan issues – sometimes the issue lies with the drain pan in and of itself. If a drain pan is old and rusted, cracks may form, in which case water can seep through. Additionally, if the drain pan is tilted away from the drain line it will be very hard for the condensate in the drain pan to properly flow out the pan and through the drain line.

Fortunately, drain pan issues are easy to fix; technicians can install a float switch in the drain pan at little cost and in little time. With this, the switch will automatically shut off the air conditioner if the water begins to collect in the drain pan, thus preventing the possibility of an overflow. Additionally, old, cracked drain pans can be replaced in no time at all. If you’re having trouble with HVAC water leaks, reach out to a certified contractor today!

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