With Spring just around the corner, it’s time to think about the health of the air conditioning component of your HVAC system. Texans are no strangers to warm, humid weather, and our early Spring and long Summers mean we rely on our AC units to keep our homes cool and comfortable for months longer than our northern neighbors. So when issues like leaks crop up, it pays to know why they’re happening—and what you can do to keep a minor drip from soaking you with costly repairs.
Springing Leaks, Wreaking Havoc
As you’ve no doubt noticed in the past, your AC system produces a fair amount of clear water drainage on its own. Your air conditioner is designed to remove humidity from the air, making you more comfortable even at higher temperatures. This not only makes it easier to find a comfortable temperature for your home, but saves you money because your home’s ambient temperature doesn’t have to be lowered as much to feel refreshing and cool.
A properly functioning air conditioner circulates refrigerant through its evaporator coils, removing heat and humidity and helping to cool your home—and the coils themselves. When everything’s working as it should, the moisture that accumulates on the coils is collected by a drain pan and then travels down a drain hose that empties into a drain inside or outside your home.
However, when water crops up where it shouldn’t, or if you notice mysterious liquids puddle near your unit (or along your ductwork), it’s time to investigate. Four of the most common causes of AC leaks include:
- Condensation Leaky or poorly insulated ductwork can cause condensation to accumulate along the metal corridors of your ventilation system, leading to drips and leaks as cold air travels through them in hot weather.
- Drain Hose IssuesWhether it’s clogged with debris and dirt or plugged by rogue algae or mold, a blocked drain hose can cause water to accumulate in the drip pan and overflow, causing a puddle near your unit. Another possibility is a disconnected drain hose, which can cause a leak by allowing the water to run straight from the collection pan onto your floor, ceiling, your yard.
- Pan DamageLike your drain hose, the drain pan is a key component in keeping your AC system leak-free. If it’s damaged, out of place, or missing, you can expect to discover unwanted moisture accumulating near your AC unit.
- Filters and Refrigerant Replacing your filter can seem like a chore, and monitoring your system’s coolant levels can be even more troublesome if you’re not mechanically inclined. But a dirty filter can cause blockages that can freeze up your entire system (creating condensation and leakage as it thaws), and running low on refrigerant can not only freeze your system, but cause it to fail altogether, costing you plenty. It pays to perform (or schedule) regular maintenance to ensure your system’s running with clean components and plenty of coolant.
A leak is often the first sign of a larger issue in your HVAC system. And naturally, dealing with all of these potentially perturbing issues is much easier when you’ve arranged for regular maintenance with your local HVAC professionals. Not only can your friendly technician help you diagnose and repair potential leaks and other issues, but they can also help ensure they don’t happen again. So plug those leaks, and help keep your home safe, cool, and most importantly, dry during warm weather in the Lone Star State.