Can A Small Water Leak In My Air Conditioner Be A Big Problem?

Water Leak Repair – A Few Ideas

Water leak repair for your home’s air-conditioning unit can often be a simple task.

When any home appliance springs a leak, take immediate steps to fix it.  Any machine’s greatest enemy is neglect.  Putting off routine maintenance and inspection leads to expensive headaches down the road, with the possibility of borderline disasters creating major inconveniences.   For example, when an air conditioning unit is leaking, it could just be that it needs a hose replacement or some other small repair.  However, it could also be a red flag, a sign of more serious problems.  If you should have an emergency situation in your home where water begins to damage the structure, call Accutech immediately.

Plugged Condensate Drain

It could be a plugged condensate drain. The question is, how to repair it and avoid an expensive service call from your A/C guy?

  1. Find the outside line by your condensing unit (outside a/c). Take a big Shop Vac, and duct tape the suction hose to the 3/4″ PVC line.  Turn on the Shop Vac (if you don’t have one, ask a neighbor – they’re a good investment) on and vacuum out the debris and water in the line.
  2. To be truly effective, it helps to find an opening in the line near the air handler (inside unit) and pour in straight bleach with the aid of a funnel while the vacuum is running.  This will kill and clean any algae or bacteria on the inside of the drain pipe.  Be sure to follow this up with lots of clean water to rinse the bleach out.
  3. If you don’t already have one installed, consider adding a PVC “T” to the drain line.  Doing so makes it really easy to add a cup of bleach every month to keep it clean.  Always rinse the line with water afterwards to avoid chlorine gas being drawn into the system!

Locate The Source Of The Leak

Finding the source of the leak will help you accurately determine what the problem is.  If the water is coming from the PVC line leading to the outside of the house then the air conditioner is fine.  It’s simply relieving itself of condensation.  However, if it’s leaking into the attic (or wherever your unit is located) the pan is probably overflowing.

All central air conditioning units produce water as they cool the household air. Consequently, they all have drains that are usually piped into the household drain system.  However, because the amount of water is small and the flow rate virtually just a trickle, the drain lines will routinely plug with bacteria. Sometimes you can blow them clear, but I’ve had to call a plumber to snake mine before.  Also, see above for another solution to clearing your line.

The water that you see dripping out of your air conditioning unit is a secondary drain to keep the water pan from overflowing. The outlet for this is usually someplace where you will see it right away to let you know that you have a clogged main drain line.

You should get the main line clear before the backup drain plugs as well.  Remember, neglect is any machine’s greatest enemy.

What To Do If You Can’t Locate The Source Of The Leak Or Otherwise Fix Your Air Conditioning

Call the experts at Accutech and ask about preventing a water disaster in your home.  Should one occur, call us and we’ll be on the scene in an hour, guaranteed.