Why is my AC leaking water?

People always talk about how Arizona has a dry heat. Well during monsoon season the dry heat becomes a wet heat. Most people don’t even realize how well their air conditioner is working to keep out the humidity until they walk outside of their home. Have you recently asked yourself “why is my AC leaking water?”

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Looking for pinholes of leaking refrigerant on a rusty evap coil last year.

Air Conditioners use the condensation method to remove the moisture from the air in your home. The same thing that runs down your cold drink on a warm day. Is also keeping your home at a comfortable humidity range. This is the water you are seeing when you see water pouring from a drain in the side of your home.

If you have a package unit on top of your home. Then you should see a PVC or copper pipe coming from the unit. It should either run off the roof or into some sort of drain. Continuous water should be directed off your roof. It could progress deterioration of your roof over time.

If you have a split unit then you will usually either have an air handler in your attic or a side closet. These kind of units will usually have PVC or copper drains going through a wall to leak the condensation outside or to a separate drain.

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Installed 2 new split systems earlier this year. Notice the PVC directing the condensation water to a separate drain.
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New Trane Package Unit on top of a custom curb adapter. Notice the PVC connecting to an existing drain.

It is important to remember that these drains can get clogged over time with dust and it can turn into a sludge. These drains really can cause a problem if they get fully clogged, and if they are located inside your attic. They usually will have a secondary pan underneath the air handler if located in the attic. The pan will mostly always have a PVC or copper drain connected from it to the outside. A lot of people will usually not pay attention to the subtle signs that the condensation is leaking through the emergency drain instead of the primary drain. Once the secondary pan gets clogged as well. They tend to fill up after a few gallons. The water will then ruin your drywall and insulation underneath where unit is located. When looking at the side of your home where the drains are located. The lower drain should be your primary passage for the condensation. If your condensation is leaking through the higher drain. Then you can probably guess that your secondary pan is catching the leaking condensation from your air handler. I immediately suggest you go in the attic to inspect the pan.

If your secondary pan has water in it. Then I suggest you immediately turn off your AC unit to stop adding water to the situation.  I suggest you get a Wet/Dry vacuum to put on the outside drain to try to unclog it. Don’t forget to remove the dust filter inside your wet/dry vac before sucking up water. If you cannot unclog it this way then I suggest going into the attic with your wet/dry vac to remove the obstruction from the drain this way. If you can’t get the drain to clear. Then I suggest you suck the water from the pan before working on the drain lines. It may take you a few trips to safely remove the water without too much damage to your insulation and drywall. Once the pan is clear from water. I recommend you using your wet dry vacuum to make sure the line is clear.

Most the time I will cut the drain line, and I will my pressurized nitrogen bottle to blow about 200 psi though the line. This method is the fastest and will usually take care of the problems for me. I then reconnect the drain line with either a shark bite quick connect fitting if it’s copper line, or I will use PVC coupler and glue. Condensation drain lines are usually 3/4″ but I have seen 1/2″ drain lines before.

I have attached some tools that will help you clear condensation drain lines more efficiently.

RIDGID 32975 Model 103 Close Quarters Tubing Cutter, 1/8-inch to 5/8-inch Tube CutterRIDGID 32975 Model 103 Close Quarters Tubing Cutter, 1/8-inch to 5/8-inch Tube CutterRIDGID 31632 Model 151 Quick-Acting Tubing Cutter, 1/4-inch to 1-7/8-inch Tube CutterRIDGID 31632 Model 151 Quick-Acting Tubing Cutter, 1/4-inch to 1-7/8-inch Tube CutterK-D Tools 2107 Mini Tubing CutterK-D Tools 2107 Mini Tubing CutterPipe and Tube Cutter, Ratcheting Hose Cutter, One-hand Fast Pipe Cutting Tool with Ratchet Drive for Cutting Less Than 1-1/4Pipe and Tube Cutter, Ratcheting Hose Cutter, One-hand Fast Pipe Cutting Tool with Ratchet Drive for Cutting Less Than 1-1/4PVC Pipe Cutters By Haisstronica One-hand Fast pipe cutter tool with Ratchet Drive for Cutting Less Than 1-5/8in(42mm) O.D. PEX, PVC, and PPR PipePVC Pipe Cutters By Haisstronica One-hand Fast pipe cutter tool with Ratchet Drive for Cutting Less Than 1-5/8in(42mm) O.D. PEX, PVC, and PPR PipeStanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 Gallon, 4 HorsepowerStanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 Gallon, 4 HorsepowerShop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry VacShop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry VacVacmaster 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Portable Wet/Dry Vacuum, VP205Vacmaster 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Portable Wet/Dry Vacuum, VP205Vacmaster VFB511B 0201 Beast Series Professional Wet/Dry VacuumVacmaster VFB511B 0201 Beast Series Professional Wet/Dry VacuumUniweld 40040 Nitrogen Sludge Sucker and Blaster Kit with Metal Carrying Stand for 40 Cubic Feet Nitrogen TankUniweld 40040 Nitrogen Sludge Sucker and Blaster Kit with Metal Carrying Stand for 40 Cubic Feet Nitrogen TankDiversiTech CB-2 DrainDawg Condensate Line Drain Cleaning KitDiversiTech CB-2 DrainDawg Condensate Line Drain Cleaning KitNew 20 cu ft Steel Nitrogen Cylinder with CGA580 ValveNew 20 cu ft Steel Nitrogen Cylinder with CGA580 ValveFernco 1056-075 Condensate 3/4-Inch plastic or 3/4 and 1-Inch copper Pipe ConnectorFernco 1056-075 Condensate 3/4-Inch plastic or 3/4 and 1-Inch copper Pipe ConnectorPVC Pipe Coupler - Socket / Slip - Schedule 40 - White - 3/4-Inch - Pack of 6PVC Pipe Coupler – Socket / Slip – Schedule 40 – White – 3/4-Inch – Pack of 6SharkBite U016LFA4 Straight Coupling Plumbing Fitting, 3/4 Inch, PEX Fittings, Push-to-Connect, Coupler, Copper, CPVCSharkBite U016LFA4 Straight Coupling Plumbing Fitting, 3/4 Inch, PEX Fittings, Push-to-Connect, Coupler, Copper, CPVCSharkBite U3016LFA 3/4-Inch SharkBite Lead Free Repair Slip CouplingSharkBite U3016LFA 3/4-Inch SharkBite Lead Free Repair Slip Coupling

I hope this article has helped you. Please comment or email me if you have any questions.

dollarmech@gmail.com

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