At Jewell Mechanical, the vast majority of all central air conditioning service calls we receive are related to leaks. This shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider that there are at least 6 common reasons why your air conditioner might leak. Reasons include:
- A clogged air filter
- A cracked or missing drain pan
- A clogged or disconnected drain line
- Low refrigerant level
While leaks can lead to significant damage, the good news is that the causes of most leaks can readily be addressed.
Cause #1: Clogged Air Filter
Replacing your air filter on a regular basis can both prevent leaks and help your system perform at peak efficiency. Typically, changing your filter every one to two months is sufficient, but it’s probably a good idea to inspect the filter once a month during the summer months. Popular Mechanics reminds us that “a dirty filter [may] cause ice to form on the unit’s evaporator coils, and when that ice melts, it drips water.”
If you change the filter and the ice does not dissipate, one of our qualified service technicians can diagnose the issue.
Cause #2: Cracked Drain Pain
Another common problem is a cracked or otherwise damaged drain pan. The drain pan is designed to catch condensation from your air conditioning unit, but if there’s a crack or hole in the pan, you’ll notice a leak.
While small holes or cracks may be patched, it’s generally best to replace a damaged drain pain.
Cause #3: Clogged Condensate Line
Arguably the most common leak-related issue is a clogged condensate line, which is designed to drain condensation from the overflow pan to a drainpipe or to the outside. If the line gets clogged then water will back up and overflow the drain pain.
Some newer air conditioners feature a water-overflow cutoff switch, which will shut down your unit if the condensate line gets clogged, thereby avoiding potential water damage.
Again, one of our service technicians can diagnose the problem, unclog the line and get you A/C unit running again. We offer residential A/C service and repair 24 hours a day.
Cause #4: Low Refrigerant Level
Another problem worth mentioning is the effect of a low refrigerant level, which, believe it or not, can lead to a leak. According to Inspectapedia—a well-known resource often utilized by home inspectors—“too little refrigerant in the system can actually drop the temperature in the cooling coil below its normal operating range.” In turn, frost may build up on air conditioner coils—sometimes an early sign of a refrigerant leak.
Then, “when enough refrigerant leaks out of the system temperatures rise … because [there is] no longer any heat exchange between the condenser coil and the outdoor air nor between the empty cooling coil and the indoor air.” In this scenario it becomes more expensive to operate your air conditioner (even as its cooling capability declines).
Ultimately it may lead to an overheated compressor motor, “which may trip your circuit breaker, have trouble starting, and eventually fail to run at all,” relates Inspectapedia. This situation calls for an experienced HVAC technician—like the licensed technicians at Jewell Mechanical—to diagnose the issues in question and complete the repairs.
If you have an air conditioner that is leaking water don’t hesitate to contact us online or give us a call at (615) 469-5965. We offer residential HVAC service and repair in Nashville, Davidson County and most of Middle Tennessee.
Also know that regular preventative HVAC maintenance can prevent leaks. Ask about Jewell Mechanical’s HVAC Energy Savings Agreement, which includes two maintenance services per year (typically one in the spring and one in the fall), as well as other valuable benefits like discounts on repairs and priority customer status.