Problems and Quick Fixes for Air Conditioner Leaks
By Steven De Nazareth
Updated: May 20th, 2019
If you think that a leaking air conditioner would only cause cosmetic damage to your home, think again! Many chemicals are at play whenever your air conditioner is cooling your home, and when exposed to the air can cause a lot of health hazards to you and your family. Furthermore, these gases when released can also destroy the ozone layer, leaving your skin unprotected against lethal ultraviolet rays.
Having a leaky air conditioner doesn’t just mess up your flooring, but leads to high energy bills as well. If neglected for a long period, you will eventually have to chalk up a lot of money to spend on repair bills. Your air conditioner would suffer most because of three common reasons:
Reasons Why Air Conditioners Leak
So here are the main reasons why your air conditioner and its refrigerant may be leaking, and how it affects you and your home:
Pin Hole Leak
Another reason why your air conditioner could leak is known as the ‘Pin Hole’ leak. It is called as such because of Formic, a naturally formed acid that tends to eat away at the copper tubing of your air conditioner. These types of leaks usually show up only in the latter half of your air conditioner’s lifespan. When they do appear, they tend to couple up with other leaks in different sections of the components and copper tubes. This usually leads to very expensive replacement or repairs done by a professional.
Formaldehyde, a component in your air conditioner can turn into formic acid on the AC coils. Formic acid is very mild but over the course of five years or so it creates pinhole like leaks in the copper tubes due to corrosion. This is the main reason that air conditioner manufacturers are switching to all aluminum as it isn’t affected by corrosion.
Wear and Tear
The most common reason to find your air conditioner leaking is that of constant use leading to wear and tear. As you continue to use your air conditioner for a long period of time, the rubber seals on the service valves around the valve stems can wear out and leak. There is also the possibility of the outer system getting rusted. With the outer components rusted, it can spread to the internal assembly joints as well. Rusting of the internal joints won’t show immediately, and would typically take a year for the leaks to show. By then, the damage would become extensive.
But you as a homeowner won’t have to worry much, as the leaks caused by wear and tear is quite easy to fix with the help of a professional. When it comes to the rusted parts of your air conditioner, they are easily replaceable. One severe case of rust, you will need to conduct major repairs and take it to the shop, as you would for any other device that has sustained severe damage.
As mentioned above Formaldehyde can turn into formic acid and make itself home on the air conditioner coils. This corrosion is known as Formicary corrosion. Alongside corroding copper tubes, Formaldehyde can cause much more damage than just pinhole leaks.
As a homeowner, you need to be aware of terms such as indoor air quality. One major indoor air pollutant is Formaldehyde. Even with short-term exposure to the chemical, one could suffer from eye irritation, nausea, headache, coughing, wheezing as well as asthma attacks for people with respiratory issues. Other effects include burning sensation in the eyes, nose, and skin.
Just think, if these are the complications caused by Formaldehyde in a short-term, imagine the long-term complications. So if you notice an air conditioner refrigerant leak, make sure to get it repaired or replaced at the soonest. These leaks would be hazardous to the environment, and your family.
State law suggest that all HVAC are required to fix refrigerant leaks due to the possible environmental hazards. Some of these air conditioner refrigerants contain gases that are global warming and ozone layer agonists.
Components That Require Maintenance
Now, we’ve covered the most common causes of why your air conditioner refrigerant leaks So what about the other components of your air conditioner. Here are some of the air conditioner components that could cause a leak:
Clogged Drain Line
In terms of air conditioners, this is considered one of the most common and frequent causes of water leakage stemming from a central air conditioning system. This is quite common in the summer with rising temperatures. Your drain lines can get clogged with many types of trash. They are mostly clogged by dirt, rust, algae and such organic debris. You may require the assistance of an HVAC professional in order to clear up all the debris. Neglecting a clogged drain line would lead to expensive repairs or replacement of parts.
A clogged condensate drain pipe can cause the drain pan to overflow. This is why you must regularly clean your drain pipe and keep it free from all sorts of debris.
Disconnected Drain Line
After talking about how you should take care of a clogged drain, you need to know how to reconnect a disconnected drain line.. A disconnected drain line usually occurs when your air conditioner systems have not been installed properly into your home. One should keep in mind that your air conditioner does normally leak a little bit of water due to the condensation process. This is normal and the water would usually dry up on hot days. Over time, your drain pipe fittings will loosen causing your drain pipe to disconnect from your air conditioner unit. This disconnection allows the condensate to drain down from the ceiling and onto the floor. Just like a clogged drain line, the location of this leak usually pertains to either the primary or secondary drain pipe. The location of your air conditioner also makes a difference, especially if you have it installed in your attic or living space.
Condensate Pump Problems
Another component of your air conditioner that can cause it to leak is a malfunctioning or dirty condensate pump. A leakage from your condensate pump can be as extensive as flooding your attic or basement. With continual exposure to air as well as the presence of water, your air conditioner can become the perfect ecosystem for the growth of mold and mildew. This growth of mold and mildew will eventually lead to extensive clogging.
Other Potential Causes of AC Water Leakage
There are many reasons as to why your air conditioner might be leaking. An HVAC professional can easily repair and replace the below components whenever they fail and begin to leak. Below are some of the commonplace issues that cause leaking in your air conditioner components:
- Clogged air filter
- Low refrigerant
- Cracked condensate drain pan
- No p-trap and air vent in the drain line to prevent water backup
- Condensate buildup in un-insulated ductwork
Now, what can you do when it comes to fixing and maintaining your air conditioner system. You should keep a close eye and regularly clean the internal components. This would be quite a difficult task in the summer when most of your other appliances will also malfunctioning due to the high temperatures.
Air Conditioners and Home Warranties – HomeWarrantyReviews.com
Now if you think it’s a tedious task to maintain all your home appliances, there’s always the option of investing in a home warranty. A home warranty is a service you pay for upfront at the start of the year that protects most of your home appliances for a given year.
It works based on the home warranty service. Whenever an appliance becomes faulty, you can call the home warranty service company and they’ll send in a local contractor to fix your appliance.
The price of a home warranty is relatively cheaper than the expenses you would make for individual repairs. With that being said, how would you know which is the best home warranty for you?
To help you with your search you can get all the updates and research that can help you on HomeWarrantyReviews.com. All the reviews of home warranty companies are given by real consumers of the home warranty, hence you will receive utmost clarity. At HomeWarrantyReviews.com, you can also find the rating timeline for all the top home warranty companies in the U.S. With this timeline, you can see how your home warranty company is faring in the eyes of the public for the last five years.
Did you find this article helpful? YES | NO
Thank you for your feedback!