AC Leaking Water
AC Unit is Leaking Water

It is usual for both central air conditioners and window AC units to drip some water. When you see too much, though, there is likely a problem that needs to be dealt with swiftly.

Signs Your AC is Leaking Water
In addition to seeing large amounts of water leakage, some common signs to look out for include the following:

  • Your AC turns on but only puts out hot or warm air.
     
  • You notice a musty or moldy smell around your unit or your vents.
     
  • You see mold on your condensation pan or in any other noticeable areas.
     
  • There is water damage under the unit or in the surrounding areas.
     
  • The system will not shut on or off, or it turns off on its own.
     
  • Your AC starts making any noise that does not sound familiar, hisses, bubbling noises, vibration, or loud fluttering or clicking sounds.

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  • Your drip pan is filling up quicker than usual.

Steps to Take When Your AC Unit is Leaking Water

  1. Immediately shut the AC unit off and unplug it to prevent any fire hazards and further leaking.
     
  2. Clean up as much of the leaked water as you can to mitigate further water damage.
    Water damage not only leads to dangerous mold and mildew damage in your own home, but it can also damage your paint, wallpaper, wall structure, and floors. It can also leak into other rooms. If you live in a condo and your HVAC unit causes water damage to the apartment below, you will most likely be accountable for that damage. The quicker you notice water damage and take steps to stop it, the better.
     
  3. Check if your condensate pan is full or if your filter is dirty. If either one is true, you can take care of the issue.
     
  4. If it is neither the pan nor the filter, call in professional help.
     

Why Is My AC Unit Leaking?
There are potentially several reasons why your air conditioner is leaking water. They include the following:

  • Clogged condensate drain line
  • Dirty air filter
  • Damaged condensate pan
  • Low refrigerant level
  • Broken condensate pump
  • Outdoor temperatures
  • Disconnected drain line

AC Unit Leaking Water

Clogged Condensate Drain Line or Drain Hole
A common cause of water leaks in an AC unit is a clogged drain line. As an AC system works, it circulates indoor air and other items, such as dirt and dust. Dirt and dust can get trapped in the moisture that travels through the drain hole, effectively clogging that drain pipe.

Air Filter Is Dirty
A dirty air filter stops air from flowing correctly, which causes the evaporator coil to freeze. As it melts, it fills the drip pan faster than it should, and the overflow will leak into your home.

Damaged Condensate Pan
Drain pans can rust over time, leaving holes for water to fall straight through. If an air conditioner is leaking water and is more than a decade old, a rusted drain pan is a likely culprit, and you will need to replace it.

Low Refrigerant Level
An air conditioning unit blowing out warm air or one that hisses likely has a refrigerant leak. Low refrigerant levels lead to the same issue as dirty air filters. The lower pressure causes the evaporator coils to freeze then thaw, and water leaks into the home.

In minor cases, an AC repair can fix a refrigerant leak. However, when leaks are left alone for long periods, air conditioning units typically need to be entirely replaced.

Broken Condensate Pump
Those who have an HVAC unit installed in the basement have a condensate water pump. The pump sends the moisture outside. Sometimes, the condenser pump breaks, and the water leaks back into the home.

Outdoor Temperatures
When trying to cool your home, outdoor temperatures and your thermostat setting play a large role. Running your AC unit on days under 60 degrees outside can lead to frozen evaporator coils.

On hot days, your AC system works harder, mostly if the thermostat is set low. You are sure to see your air conditioner leaking water outside and likely a much more considerable amount of water than usual.
  
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover AC Units?
Yes. Heating and air conditioning systems are typically considered part of a home structure, so yes, they are covered with replacement cost (RCV) coverage. A window unit is a piece of personal property, according to insurers. It is covered using actual cost value (ACV) coverage.

Your home's structure and your personal property have protection for specific perils under your homeowner's policy. If the leak is due to one of these covered perils, your policy should take care of it. Water damage and mold might also be covered if the leak was sudden and accidental, but if poor maintenance or normal wear and tear caused the AC to leak, you are not covered.
 
Tips for Preventing a Leaking Air Conditioner
If you begin to notice water backing up into your home, you can try using a wet-dry vacuum to unclog your drain pipes. If that is ineffective, call a professional.

  • If you notice water backing up into your home, you can try using a wet-dry vacuum to unclog your drain pipes. If that is ineffective, call a professional.
     
  • Change your air filters every 1-3 months. For those who live in dusty climates or with pets, try to change them twice a month.
     
  • For a window air conditioner leaking water inside, tilt the unit slightly backward. Doing so keeps the dripping water outside.

I hope that helps!

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At your service,
Young Alfred