If you have noticed water leaking out of the indoor unit of your split AC, then you are not alone in this. This is a common problem with split ACs. Water leaking out of your AC could be due to many reasons but it is very important to try to figure out why the water is leaking and resolve it as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the AC. If left untreated this can lead to you replacing your AC unit altogether.
What are the Most Common Causes of AC Leaks?
There are multiple reasons why water is leaking from the indoor unit of the AC. We have listed all the major reasons below; go through each one carefully to see which one might be the reason your AC is leaking water:
1. Dirty Air Filter:
A dirty air filter can block the air coming out of the evaporator. When the air cannot easily come out of the evaporator, it freezes over. This is because the evaporator is a cool area. When this ice eventually melts, it causes the drainage pan to fill up faster and this overflow can lead to water leakage.
An air filter should be cleaned regularly to avoid inefficiency and malfunctions in the AC. Typically it is advised to clean them once every 3 months. You can easily clean the air filter by running it in water and drying it.
2. Low Level of Refrigerant:
A low level of refrigerant will also have a similar effect to that of a dirty air filter. They will also freeze the air inside the evaporator and cause the drainage pipe to fill up faster and cause overflow which can lead to leakage.
A low level of refrigerant can be due to refrigerant leakage in the unit. This is a serious problem as this can damage your AC and can cause warm air to come out of the AC instead of cool air. If you notice that your AC is not cooling the room and your electricity bill is higher than normal along with water leakage, then most likely you have a low level of refrigerant in the unit.
3. Disconnected or Clogged Condensate Drain:
A clogged or disconnected drain is the most common reason for water leakage in the AC. Without regular cleaning the drain gets clogged with dirt and debris over time, this prevents popper drainage and can create leakage in the unit.
The same thing can also happen if the drainage pipe gets disconnected or loses its insulation over time. To clean this you need the help of a professional as the drainage pan is placed behind the unit and is difficult to clean by non-professionals.
4. Broken Condensate Pipes:
Condensation pipes as the name suggests removes any extra condensation from the unit. If the condensation pipe is broken or disconnected then this will make it difficult for the condensation to get out of the unit. If continued, this will eventually lead to leakage of water inside the unit.
Complications Due to Prolonged Water Leakage from an AC Unit
It is important to address the water leakage as soon as possible as this can lead to other major issues which might cause you to replace the AC. Following are some of the main problems that might arise due to water leakage;
1. Mould and Mildew:
Constant water leakage provides a damp and warm environment which is a perfect condition for the growth of bacteria and fungus such as mould and mildew. This will cause the AC to circulate contaminated air that can give rise to health conditions.
2. Sheetrock and Insulation Damage:
The mould can not only grow inside the AC unit but also on the drywalls which are getting affected by the leakage. These are very difficult to remove and will cause you a significant hassle to do so.
If you have an insulation system in the house, then constant water can cause serious damage to the insulation which is very expensive to repair and fix.
Even if you do not have drywall or insulation, then also it can damage the entire wall and paint of the house and can cause moulding in the wall as well which will be expensive and tiresome to remove.
3. Electrical Complication:
If you have electrical fixtures near the AC unit either for the AC or for any other device in the house, then this water leakage becomes an electrical hazard and has the potential to cause a short circuit. This can be especially dangerous if the wiring of your house is done inside the wall.
What Should you Do When the AC Unit is Leaking Water?
There are a couple of things you can do to solve the issue, if the leaking persists then you have to take the help of a professional.
1. Switch Off the AC:
The first and the most important thing you have to do when you notice water leakage from your unit is to switch off the AC until you figure out what the issue is and solve it. This is because the continued use of the AC can aggravate the problem and can cause a bigger problem.
2. Check for Ice Formation:
If ice is forming in your evaporator coil and your air filters are clean, then chances are there is a refrigerant leakage or low level of refrigerant. Do not use the AC until the ice melts off as this will add undue pressure on the compressor and cause further damage to the unit.
3. Clean the Air Filters:
This is the easiest thing you can do to resolve the leakage. Check the air filters and then clean them by running the filters underwater. Once you have cleaned the filters you can also clean the evaporator coil using a no-rinse coil cleaner. Check if the leakage stops after you do this.
4. Dispose of the Water:
Before resolving the leakage you might need to address the already leaked water. Clean and dry any surface you find leaking water, this is especially important for parts inside the unit as this leaked water might freeze over and create a bigger issue. Dry the filter, evaporator coil and drainage pan.
5. Clean your Condensate Drain Pipe:
The condensate drain pipe is located just below the indoor unit, you can check this pipe to see if it is blocked. If you notice that the pipe is blocked, then you should clean it by running it in water and drying it. Also, ensure that the drain pan is empty.
6. Don’t Use your AC in Cold Weather:
If the temperature outside is low, then it becomes difficult for the AC to function properly as there is no warmth or hotness to remove from the room. It also disrupts the delicate balance of hot and cold air inside the unit and can cause freezing inside the AC leading to water leakage. Try not to use your AC when the weather is cold outside.
7. Contact a Professional:
If all the above steps did not solve the issue, then you need to contact an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) professional. Also, if you are hesitating on cleaning any of the above parts of the AC, then it is better to call a professional and let them handle it.