Since summers in Raleigh, NC can be uncomfortably hot, homeowners rely on the air conditioners to stay cool. However, when homeowners in Raleigh, NC see a leak originating from their air conditioner, they may start to panic. If your air conditioner is leaking, its cooling capabilities may drop significantly, even though your energy bills are still high. The genesis of a leak may be caused by many factors such as the age of the unit, installation problems, damaged drain pan, and how you maintain the AC. Here is a comprehensive explanation of the possible causes of a leaking AC.

Damaged Drain Pan

The drain pan is a collection point for condensate from the air. The blower in your AC pushes warm humid air from indoors over the chilled evaporator coils. The lower temperature of the evaporator coils allows water droplets to form, which drip onto the drain pan below it. The drain pan directs the water to the drainpipe for removal.

The pan is made of galvanized steel, stainless steel, or polymer. The steel components are subject to corrosion due to rust-forming patches where the water seeps. Polymer is made of plastic and can get damaged from mishandling or extreme weather. Consequently, a broken drain pan can no longer hold water, resulting in an AC leak.

Fortunately, it is easy to correct a drain pan problem before mold and mildew start growing, causing more issues. Using water-resistant sealants is a temporal solution. However, we recommend considering a drain pan replacement, especially if your AC is more than 15 years old. We also encourage all residents of Raleigh, NC to install a float switch for the drain pan. The switch disconnects the AC from power after detecting a leak from the drain pan. This small investment will save you hundreds of dollars that can help you avoid AC repairs and mold removal.

Blocked Condensate Drain

As explained earlier, water from the drain pan moves through the condensate drain for removal. However, if the drain is blocked, water backs up and overflows from the drain pan, causing a water puddle around the AC. The clogging happens because of dirt buildup from dust, dirt, mold, or debris.

If you suspect a blockage, contact Thermo Direct for a quick cleanup. We use recommended materials, ensuring your home is safe from chemicals that can compromise indoor air quality and result in respiratory problems. Our technicians have the expertise to safely detach the drain for cleaning and restore it without any damage.

Faulty Condensate Pump

An AC unit positioned above the drain relies on gravity to dispel the water through the condensate drain. Otherwise, if the AC unit is below the main drain in locations such as the basement, it depends on the condensate pump. Water drips from the coils to the pan and through the drainpipe to a condensate tank. The condensate tank contains a float switch that triggers the pump’s motor once the tank is full. The engines pump the water from the reservoir to the sink drain for removal.

A problem with the pump means it is impossible to trigger the float switch when the tank is full. Consequently, water overflows from the tank causing large water puddles in the basement. Different reasons cause the pump to malfunction. It could be debris buildup on the float switch preventing the trigger. In other instances, the motor could be damaged, or the hose drain clogged. For these reasons, it is critical to contact an HVAC technician from Thermo Direct for an accurate diagnosis of the issue.

Low Refrigerant Volume

The refrigerant easily changes form from low-pressure gas to high-pressure liquid upon heat absorption. The compound also quickly turns back to the original state when cooled, forming the basis upon which the AC cools your home. During both processes, the refrigerant never dissipates. However, damage to the evaporator coils or loose connectors can cause the refrigerant to leak, which affects your AC’s cooling.

The low refrigerant volume reduces the pressure within the unit, causing the evaporator coils to freeze. Water droplets form on the evaporator and become ice. When the ice melts, it drips into the drain pan, causing water leakage. If you are experiencing freezing evaporator coils, you need a professional to determine whether the problem requires a repair or a replacement.

If you observe a hissing or bubbling noise from the coils, it indicates leaking refrigerant. You may also notice a sweet smell emanating from the AC unit. Many AC appliances built before 2011 have R-22 Freon refrigerant. Upon exposure, the R-22 can cause health conditions and damage the ozone layer. Therefore, make sure you hire an HVAC technician to handle any issue with the AC’s refrigerant.

Dirty Air Filters

The air filters help keep the indoor air free from pollutants and allergens by trapping the particulates. Over time, they become dirty, and instead of trapping dust, they facilitate the circulation of the contaminants in your home. For this reason, our technicians recommend that you change the air filters as often as possible. For smokers, pet lovers, and users of scented candles, once every month is ideal. Otherwise, you can change your filters once every three months.

Dirty air filters disrupt air circulation in the system. Little ventilation hinders the proper functioning of the evaporator making it harder to cool your home. Dirty air filters can cause the coils to freeze. This issue will lead to water overflowing from the drip pan after the ice melts from the coils. Fortunately, you can correct the issue quickly and restore the proper function of your HVAC unit through a filter replacement. Since most Raleigh, NC residents rarely keep records of their last air filter change, booking routine maintenance with Thermo Direct will help avoid the future occurrence of this problem.

Poor Installation

The most prominent problem with AC installations is miscalculating the level of the AC unit. This error hinders water from flowing correctly due to incorrect gravity, leading to leaks. Another issue is that some inexperienced installers fail to reconnect the drainpipes after a replacement or routine maintenance check. The mistake leads to substantial water puddles that can cause significant problems to the AC unit and home.

Contact the Professionals for Excellent Service

Water leaking from an AC unit signals a problem that requires immediate attention. For residents of Raleigh, NC, you can depend on Thermo Direct for quick and accurate solutions. We provide heating solutions for homeowners and can work on everything from heat pumps and boilers to furnaces. Our cooling solutions include AC and mini-split installations, repairs, and replacements. In addition, we provide other services, including weatherization, smart thermostat installations, indoor air cleaning, ductwork, and electrical services. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

company icon