Why the air conditioner leaks. The main causes.

In the cold season, the following question becomes very topical: Why do we notice water and steam leaking from the outdoor unit when heating a room with an air conditioner? When you use the air conditioner in HEAT mode) leakage from the outdoor unit is normal because condensate forms on the outdoor heat exchanger, collects in the sump and flows out. 

To avoid such cases, it is recommended when installing the air conditioner:

– Provide a condensate drain from the outdoor unit with a 32 mm plumbing pipe from the centre hole;

– install a heating cable in the pipe and in the sump of the outdoor unit to prevent the water from freezing at sub-zero temperatures;

– install a thermostat sensor to disable heating when the temperature exceeds +2°C. С;

– Seal all openings in the sump except the central hole.

Next, let’s discuss condensation leaking from the indoor unit in summer time.

To understand why the air conditioner is leaking, you need to identify the location where the moisture is forming:

– A leak on the wall below the indoor unit;

– splashing effect in the louvers;

– drips collect on the casing.

It is not always possible to spot water leaks in time, as water builds up over a period of time. The intensity of condensation is unstable,

is determined by the previously set operating mode. If it is more than 30 degrees outdoors, but the room air conditioner is set to 23 degrees or less, this large difference provokes a large amount of condensation.

The air conditioning unit most often leaks due to incorrect installation, operating errors and untimely cleaning. It is therefore recommended that you read the instructions carefully once you have purchased and installed the air conditioning unit.

HVAC All Seasons Service Company in San Francisco Bay Area will install your air conditioner according to all the rules and you won’t have to deal with the problem of a leaky air conditioner for a long time. Once installed, our technicians will make sure that your air conditioner will cool the air in the room perfectly, creating comfort and coziness. 

If necessary, our technicians will check your air conditioner for faults. If your air conditioner is clogged, we’ll clean it, and if it’s broken, we’ll repair it. Give us a call and you’re guaranteed to get quality service at affordable prices in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can even apply from the comfort of your own home through our website https://www.hvac4seasons.com/ or by calling: (510)342 80 96.

Causes of external unit leakage

If water leaks from the outdoor unit after installation, the installation is incorrect. It is advisable to call the installer immediately and have the problem rectified quickly.

The design of the systems involves a drainage path. If the routing is complex, an additional drain pump is required. The likelihood of breakdowns or defects in the split systems themselves is minimal.

Malfunctions can occur:

– Incorrect inclination of the drainage pipe;

– Inadequate fixing of the internal unit;

– Insufficient insulation of the freon pipes;

– incorrectly charged air conditioner;

– presence of kinks in the refrigerant movement system;

– Valve flap on outside section not fully open;

– incorrectly calculated length of refrigerant line.

If, while installing conditioner, there is a problem with drainage duct, water does not flow out by gravity, which creates leakage.

Installing a split system without observing the level causes the special condensate tray to occupy the wrong position. As a result, it does not collect moisture as intended.

The connection between the indoor and outdoor units is made by pipes with provided insulation. If this is not present, condensation will form. If the wrong type of cooling agent is selected, the indoor unit will be covered in ice. Once melted, the water formed will flow past the tank.

Often, workers with low qualifications will jam the pipes that conduct the freon. The resulting pressure causes deposits to form. When they thaw, water flows into the room.

Causes of leaking indoor unit:

To avoid breakdowns, a drainage duct is provided in any split system. All condensed liquid is led out through special pipes and removed.

When the indoor unit of an air conditioner leaks into the room, it is a sign that the unit is not working properly. To rectify the fault, you need to know what is causing the leakage. This will help to solve the problem promptly without making the situation worse.

  1. Incorrect positioning of the drain hose

The condensed liquid from the indoor unit is drained out by gravity. For this purpose, the drainage pipes must be positioned with a slight gradient. If this is not present or the slope is too low, the condensate will collect in the indoor unit. When the reservoir is full, water flows from the air conditioning unit into the room.

An incorrectly positioned drainage hose will show itself after almost a few hours of continuous operation of the unit after installation. In this case, there is only one solution to the problem: the pipes must be re-installed at the correct gradient.

  1. The drainage duct is clogged

Why conditioner is leaking – the reasons could be different. But the most common one is lack of maintenance. Debris entering and accumulating inside the drain causes condensate drainage difficulties. Liquid collects in the indoor unit and leaks form. This problem is solved by cleaning the pipes and removing the dirt from the system. In order to avoid repeated clogging it is recommended to have split-system serviced by specialists.

Another cause of air conditioner leakage is a clogged condensate pipe from outside. Insects, leaves or other debris can get inside the pipe. If this is the case, the blockage must be removed using a bobbin, rod, hoover or other suitable means.

  1. Lack of freon in the system

If there is insufficient freon in the system, the copper tubes begin to freeze heavily, covered with a layer of snow or even ice. In this case, the air conditioner leaks when the air conditioner is switched off – while the air conditioner is running, the tubes freeze, after switching off the air conditioner the tubes warm up to room temperature and ice starts dripping from the indoor unit onto the wall or floor. The problem is solved by detecting and repairing a freon leak, topping up or completely refilling the system.

Only specialists should be called in to solve this problem. If necessary, they will replace the pipes with new ones and fill them with the missing freon. Doing it yourself and carrying out repairs may aggravate the situation and damage your health.

  1. No thermal insulation on the air conditioner pipes.

All copper tubes of the split system from the outdoor unit, to the radiator of the indoor unit, must be covered with thermal insulation. Lack of protection reduces cooling capacity and causes “sweating” of the tubes in the room, namely at the bottom of the indoor unit. Moisture condenses on the surface of the cold tubes and the air conditioner starts to drip onto the floor. The solution to the problem is to call a service technician to wrap the duct with thermal insulation. At the same time it is necessary to check freon pressure and compressor efficiency.

  1. The indoor unit hangs unevenly. Not “level”.

The drain hose from the air conditioner can be taken from one of the two sides of the sump, from the left or right end of the indoor unit – usually not from both at once. If the casing of the unit is tilted to the opposite side, from the side of drainage outlet, the liquid starts to accumulate at the bottom point of the pallet slope and overflows over its edge, and water starts to drop from the air conditioner. The solution is to place a spirit level on top of the indoor unit and level it.

  1. Upper sump drainage channel is clogged. A rare problem.

There are two drain trays in the indoor unit – a large bottom drain and a small top drain. The upper sump is connected to the lower drainage duct, which can become clogged and water begins to overflow over its edges, hitting the fan motor and the split system leaks into the room. A clogged top sump indicates an extremely dirty system. The solution to the problem is a full high-pressure wash of the air conditioner with the necessary chemicals.

  1. Pump failure

Split-systems have a pump, in order to collect condensate in a drainage tank efficiently. If it fails, the air conditioner leaks into the room as the liquid does not flow into the tank. It is difficult to notice the malfunction without carrying out a diagnosis. Therefore, only a service technician should solve the cause of the leakage in this case. The fault can be eliminated by repairing or replacing the pump with a new one.

  1. Lack of liquid supply to the air conditioner

In a fan coil chiller there is a closed circuit for the working fluid to circulate in the system. Vibrations or simply poor fixing cause leaks. The consequence is a leaky air conditioner, which can lead to equipment failure. To find out if there is a problem, check that the pipes are securely fastened. If necessary, you must seal problem places and tighten nuts of fasteners. You can also do this yourself. Note, however, that excessive tightening torque may cause the threads to break.

Peculiarities of leakage on the outdoor unit and leakage on the indoor unit of an air conditioner

Experienced users of domestic air conditioners know that water often leaks from the outside of the system. This process is normal, and is explained by the fact that the air conditioner is operating at heating;

Moisture, which has condensed during heating, drains from the opening at the bottom of the unit. If the leakage comes from a different area, the condition of the drain must be checked. The latter is most likely clogged. It is sufficient to clean it and the operation of the unit will resume. In some cases, the drain tubes may need to be replaced.

If the unit runs, without interruption, water condenses on the taps.

When water leaks from the air conditioner, it is important to call an air conditioning repair and maintenance service centre. They will quickly identify the cause of the breakdown and get it fixed quickly.

In order to prevent malfunctions, it is important to have a professional install the equipment. Self-attempts to rectify the fault may result in a worsening of the situation and cause the warranty card to be cancelled, etc.

Cleaning the drainage system

If the drainage system is clogged, water flows around the perimeter of the air conditioning unit and into the room.

Drainage hoses and filters can be cleared by yourself, but it is better to call in professionals.

To clear the drainage system yourself:

  1. Disconnect the air conditioner from the power supply, to avoid electric shock. Allow it to cool down. 
  2. Remove the casing and flush out the filters at the front of the split system.
  3. Remove the tray and clean the tube located in the corner under the tray. 
  4. Use a wire to punch through the blockage and blow out the debris with a hoover. The job must be done carefully so as not to damage any parts.
  5. If the water does not come out of the pipe, you must clean the outer pipe.

If you cannot do it yourself, apply to a specialized service for maintenance and repair of air-conditioners.

Do not skimp on air conditioner maintenance. If you save money, you will end up paying more for repairs or having to buy a new air conditioner.