It might be happening and you don’t even know it, especially if you’ve been hiding indoors from this summer heat. You might not think about checking your unit for water leaks since it’s probably outside your home (common for most single-level homes), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
If you run out to your HVAC unit and see water pooling around its concrete base, that’s an issue. HVAC units are designed to drain off excess condensation through a small PVC pipe on the side; this is not a water leak. When the concrete pad beneath the unit is repeatedly soaked, then you’ve got a problem. But first, why is this happening?
Common Water Leak Causes
Although your outdoor unit leaking water isn’t necessarily going to cause water damage inside the house, you still don’t want to leave it unattended. Water and electricity don’t mix very well! (And if you do have an indoor unit, the water leak will lead to damage if it’s not dealt with quickly). You might need a Nashville air conditioning repairman if one of the following is your leak culprit:
- Clogged Drain Line—This is actually relatively easy to fix, if all goes well. When the small PVC pipe on the side of the unit (drain line) isn’t draining any water and yet the concrete pad is soaked, this means it’s probably blocked and the unit is sending all that condensation elsewhere. Before you call a professional, take a wet/dry vacuum and suck out the pipe to clear the blockage. If this doesn’t work, then call that pro you were ready to dial.
- Disconnected Drain Line—When your unit is installed improperly, the drain line fittings can come loose over time, disconnecting the drain line from the unit altogether. This obviously allows condensation to leak right out onto whatever surface the unit is on.
- Pump Problems—If your condensate pump is dirty or malfunctioning, it will leak water. This will not only allow water out of the unit, but there will be a constant presence of moisture, leading to mold and mildew.
- Other Potential Causes—But water leaks can come from other common causes as well: clogged air filter, low refrigerant, cracked condensate drain pan, condensate buildup in ductwork lacking insulation, or lack of a p-trap and air vent in the drain line (which prevent water backup). A p-trap is a pipe that is shaped to allow condensed water to properly drain off the HVAC system.
And that’s not all—in some cases, the leak may not even be water, but refrigerant, which is an even more serious problem. You need to confirm with your Nashville HVAC contractor which substance it is. A refrigerant problem can mean you need a whole new system!
If you’re dealing with a water leak like this and it’s not a simple fix, it’s best to just call an HVAC service professional you trust to fix the issue for you. Don’t forget to check out this informative post full of reasons why your HVAC may be leaking.
How to Prevent A/C Water Leaks
Now that you know some of the likely causes of an HVAC water leak, let’s take it a step further and talk about how to prevent a leak before it occurs:
- Make sure your system has a secondary drain line
- Make sure the ductwork inside your home is properly insulated
- Change your air filter regularly (in the air return inside the house)
- Check your refrigerant levels regularly
- Make sure the drain lines have a p-trap and air vent
Probably the best thing to do schedule an inexpensive annual HVAC maintenance plan with your air conditioning service technician. He will be able to check for all the things we’ve listed above, as well as quickly identify any potential leaks on a regular basis that will catch most issues before they can even begin.
Have you ever dealt with a water leak in your unit?
Whether you have an indoor unit or only an outdoor one, water leaks aren’t something you should ignore. And even though the last thing you want to do is jog out to the HVAC unit in the sweltering summer heat, it’s really an important task to make sure that you can stay inside; who wants to lose their A/C to a water leak in the middle of the heat?
Have you ever had an HVAC water leak? How did you resolve it? Let us know about your experience by posting in the comment box below. We love hearing from our readers, so we’ll respond right away!