Your AC Is leaking, What can you do about it?
Here’s the Number One question I get from my customers in the summer: “Why the hell is my air conditioning leaking water all over the place?”
It’s not always in those exact words, but you get the idea. Now, I could be very blunt and tell them, “It’s your fault, because you didn’t take care of your system,” but usually I just say, “Let me fix the problem and teach you how to prevent it from happening again.”
If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you’re already dealing with the same problem. Let’s talk about how to avoid it.
The first thing you should do is call a good HVAC service company and tell them your ac is leaking. Call us if we’re in your area, but in any case, call someone right away to come out.
A good service company will first tell you to shut the system off.
They will ask if you see any ice anywhere on the unit. Answer their questions as best you can, and schedule an appointment for them to come out. I recommend checking online reviews on any company you use, because although there are a lot of technicians in our industry, there are not enough good ones to go around. You have to pay them well and take good care of them, and there is a lot of turnover in the industry. That’s why it pays to do your research.
As for your leak, there are several possibilities.
One is that you simply have a clogged condensation drain line. When you cool your air, or I should say, remove heat from the air, you’re also creating condensation. That condensation is taken out of the home in a 3/4-inch white PVC drain line. There’s typically what we call a P-trap on that drain line. The P-trap’s purpose is to prevent cold air from blowing down the drain.
We definitely don’t want to blow cold air down the drain — we want to keep it in the house. However that P-trap holds water, and what happens to standing water, folks? That’s right. You get biological growth, as we call it. This biological growth is going to catch dirt and other contaminants that are in the drain, which feeds more biological growth, and then you get to a point where the pipe is so clogged that the water can’t flow. Water has to go somewhere, so it fills up in the pan around your coil, then overflows down into your furnace, and then out the bottom onto your carpet, or hardwood floor, or into a ceiling, which is usually how you first notice it.
Here’s a fun fact, folks.
If you have a system in the attic of your home, typically there’s a drain pan located underneath it, which also has a pipe, and this pipe usually is drained outside a master bedroom window. If you ever see water trickling around a window in the summer, it probably means you have a clogged main condensation drain line, and you need a service call.
for this problem is to cut that P-trap out, flush it or replace it, and glue your pipe back together. Then we test the operation of the air conditioning system to make sure there are no other problems, and we’re done. We usually recommend that you purchase an upgraded P-trap (we call them an EZ trap), which will allow you to easily clean out the trap, and even shut the system off in the event of a blockage.
That last feature is important, because before your drain line overflows and causes damage, the P-trap will simply shut off your system. At that point you can go down, take the cap off, and use the built-in brush to clean the pipe. A simple operation like that will help you avoid service calls. Also, when you change your filter monthly, as you should, you can simply clean out the trap, and then you’ll never have to deal with a clogged P-trap again.
Another problem is freezing of the coil.
If you have poor air flow or low refrigerant levels, it will cause your indoor coil — which is above your furnace in a typical air conditioning setup — to turn into a block of ice, and that ice melts down into your system. It is just like a clogged condensation drain line as far as you’re concerned, because you get water on the floor, even though it’s from a different cause. It’s because you’re not pulling the heat from your house over the coil. The coil gets too cold, and starts to freeze. Another cause is low refrigerant — it’s not empty, but the level is low enough that the coil is turning too cold too quickly.
When this happens, it causes freezing to occur. We can sometimes fix that by simply changing the air filter or opening all the registers in the home, but it always requires a visit from a technician to check the refrigerant levels and ensure that you are running optimally. It’s not unusual that you might have a frozen coil and a clogged drain line at the same time, so a technician might come out, pinpoint a frozen coil and then be back the next week because the drain line was also clogged up. Because of issues like this, if you haven’t had regular maintenance done, you should definitely request a maintenance check with your service call.
Okay, I’ve given you enough gems for the day.
Use this information wisely, folks. You don’t have to see me for a clogged drain line, you can take care of that issue on your own. Get the EZ trap. Get the water systems. Take care of your stuff. That’s what it really comes down to, taking care of issues before they turn into problems. Now that you’ve read this, you can’t say you don’t know, OK? Technicians won’t like this article, because, like I said, fixing water leaks is a good source of income for our families. It also keeps the carpet and drywall people busy
It’s better for you, though, if you don’t have to pay all those extra bills!
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“Service was outstanding from the time of arrival which you could track arrival time live on a website link they send you so you know when they will arrive. Technical knowledge was very high, quick and efficient Kyle and his partner both handled the install of a Sensi Predict as if it was a walk in the park. I highly recommend Kyle from Nice Heating & Air for all HVAC issues and for new installs, him and his team are an amazing company and will think of them first if any issues arise in the future for sure....”
“Professional and polite. Excellent communication throughout the maintenance visit. Definitely recommend.”
“Rolando Medrano was very professional and followed the CDC protocol of 6 feet social distance and had a mask and put disposable shoe covers before entering the house. He made sure to address all of our issues and provided answers for all our questions. He came on time and called before he came to update on timing and his status! He was a great help!”
“Highly recommend Nice Home Services for your HVAC needs. Have been member of their annual maintenance plan for three years now and been extremely pleased with their approach to business. They are professional, knowledgeable, and relatable. The service specialists take their time to fully diagnose the issue and explain the situation in a way that is easy to understand. Never had an instance where they try to push product and instead look for ways to recommend how to save you money. Need anything done on your home's HVAC, call the folks at Nice Home Services and know you're making the right choice.”
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“Dionte and his helper (Josh) did a superb job with the installation. The result is both functional and as cosmetically pleasing as the ideal water heater installation can be. They were VERY careful moving the old one out and the new one in so as to assure no damage was initiated neither to the heater nor to our dwelling. He explained his intended design prior to execution and executed it flawlessly. This was followed by a comprehensive explanation of the functional options available through the control panel and Ipad app. Cleanup at conclusion of the install was appropriate and comprehensive. This team represented both Nice Heating and Rheem VERY positively!”
“I had the pleasure of meeting another NICE Heating and Air Service Technician today, Mr. Jeremy Castellon. Jeremy, thank you again for addressing my questions and concerns regarding my gas fireplace. I appreciate your patience and knowledgeability about gas fireplaces. Jeremy was very professional and competent.”
“The technician was very professional and took his time to explain the issue and how he will about to fix it. He also offered means to save by signing on their maintenance program. He was polite, careful to keep the carpet clean. I will recommend this company to friends and family.”
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“I purchased my HVAC unit a year ago along with a Cozy Club maintenance plan. It's been running great and the customer service team is always quick to respond to questions. Today Rolando M. came by for the maintenance check and, as usual, he was neat, professional and maintained the COVID rules. He was also very nice, living up to the company name. I'm very happy with my experience with Nice.”
“I can't speak highly enough of this company. I requested an appointment, and it was scheduled for the next day. The technician was polite, honest, and a pure delight to work with. He didn't try to overcharge or tell me to replace something I didn't need to. He made service recommendations that were in line with industry standard prices so I could make an informed decision as he went about his service visit. Would recommend and will be using them again in the future. ”
“My technician arrived promptly at our appointed hour. He repaired a dirty and non-working gas fireplace. In addition, he found a small gas leak on our furnace line. Overall, exceptional service and quality work. I highly recommend their HVAC service.”
“Very impressive company! Nice responded to my call for a heating issue on very short notice. My tech, was right on time, extremely polite, and very hardworking. Customer service and satisfaction are clearly a priority.”
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“Superb customer service. Before a service appointment, you receive a text message notification with photo of the tech that will be at your residence followed by a phone call. During a service appointment you'll updated and educated. If there is a concern, management will contact you promptly and follow up until issue resolved. Awesome and attentive team!!”