Erin Doman on June 24, 2016 8 Comments HVAC Troubleshooting: Why Your Indoor AC Unit is Leaking Your HVAC unit is something that should be maintained in order to prevent costly repairs. Any leaking or pooling water around an indoor AC unit should be attended to right away. As soon as you discover a leak, be sure to turn off your air conditioner. This can help prevent the water from causing damage to the electrical components of your air conditioner and limit the amount of water damage to your home. A leaking HVAC system can be indicative of a larger problem. Here are 6 things that should be addressed when diagnosing what is causing your HVAC unit to leak. 1. A Dirty Coil One of the major ways your air conditioner works to cool your home is by pulling humidity from the air. The cold evaporator coil of your indoor unit is designed to collect this condensation and drain it away. When everything is working as it is supposed to, the water runs down the coil into a pan which leads to another drain. The ultimate destination of all of this collected water is either outside of the house or into your plumbing drain. One of the most common ways the evaporator coil can malfunction is when it becomes dirty. Once a coil becomes coated in dirt, dust, mold or other debris, the water is no longer bonded as tightly to its surface, and will drip on the ground. The water will also bond with the dirt and grime, mixing it in with the puddles of condensation on the floor of your house. A dirty coil causes problems even for the water it does manage to divert into the proper drain. Any dirt carried through the system is likely to clog your drains. Once the drains are completely blocked, the water has nowhere else to go but back into your home. This damage can be prevented by including yearly inspections and cleanings of your furnace, central humidifies and coils. Well trained professionals will include this as part of a comprehensive annual AC maintenance visit. Click Here to View All Ductless Air Conditioners 2. Clogged Drain Lines Once a clog has been identified, a wet/dry vacuum can be used to clear obstructions. Every four to six months, after ensuring the pipes are clear, pour a mixture of half bleach, half warm water down the drain. This will help keep the drain clear of mold and other growths, as well as assist in dislodging any other impediments for preventative care. If clogged drain lines still continue to be a problem, you may want to consider installing an overflow shut off device on the drain line. This will help minimize future damage by ensuring that your air conditioning unit will automatically shut off if your drain line backs up. 3. A Damaged Overflow Drain Pan Drain pans made of metal or plastic can corrode over time, which can lead to further leakage. Use a flashlight to inspect it for holes or cracks, and replace as necessary. 4. An Icy Indoor Coil Another potential cause of water pooling around an indoor HVAC unit may be an iced over indoor coil. If an icy coil goes unnoticed, melting will often occur rapidly, overwhelming the drain pan and pooling onto the floor, causing many of the same problems as a dirty coil. You can minimize some of this damage caused by an icy indoor coil by running the air conditioning system in fan only mode for a few hours to allow the ice to melt under your supervision, preventing any flooding of the drain pan. There are two primary reasons your indoor coil may have iced up. First, a dirty air filter will prevent proper ventilation and air flow. Second, you may have low levels of refrigerant or a refrigerant leak somewhere in your system. Either one of these factors can cause the temperature around the coils to drop below freezing. You should be washing or replacing your filter at least once every other month during the winter months, and once a month during the summer when your air conditioner is in heavy use. Not only will this help prevent your indoor coil from freezing up, but maintaining clean air filters is a simple way to dramatically increase the energy efficiency and air conditioning capacity of your unit as a whole. If your air filters have been recently replaced, then low refrigerant levels are the next most likely culprit. If this is the case, it is important to bring in a licensed HVAC technician who can to inspect your system to identify the source of a potential refrigerant leak, which can be dangerous if left unattended, as well as to examine your system for any other potential damage caused by the frozen coils. 5. Installation Issues Poor installation practices can present a host of problems, many of which lead to water leakages inside your home. Sometimes, drain pipe fittings have been improperly installed, and loosen over time. This allows the condensation to drain onto the floor. The unit may not be completely level, or if there is too much pressure, this can also result in pooling water on the ground. 6. Water Damage Many condensation line leaks occur inside walls, or in other low traffic areas such as basements and attics. This means that standing water may be present for long periods of time before it is noticed and addressed. Extensive water damage can cost thousands in repair costs. This is another reason it is important to regularly and frequently inspect your HVAC system. Annual HVAC System Tune Up Ensuring that you complete your annual HVAC maintenance work and inspection with a high quality HVAC service company can go a long way in protecting your home from damage and ensuring the optimum working efficiency of your unit. Heating and cooling costs can account for up to half of a home’s totally energy expenditure, and overdue basic maintenance of your HVAC system can drop your heating and cooling energy usage by up to 25 percent. Most customers will more than make up for the upfront cost of hiring a certified HVAC technician for an annual inspection through greater energy efficiency alone. Not only will your HVAC technician be able to pinpoint exactly what to do when your indoor HVAC unit starts leaking water, they will also be able to identify any other issues while they are small and easily addressed. Basic yearly maintenance can ensure that your furnace, central humidifies and coils stay clean, and your drain pipe fittings are secure.