Ductless ACs are compact and energy-efficient alternatives to old-style air conditioners. Known as mini-split ACs, these units offer a convenient and affordable way to maintain comfortable home temperatures. Mini-split air conditioners are easy to install, require less maintenance, and last longer. However, ductless air conditioners can develop problems even with regular care and maintenance. One of the problems that shouldn’t be scheduled for a later date is leaking. Ductless AC leaking is mostly associated with the following issues.
Clogged Condensate Drain Lines
The main cause of ductless AC leaks is a clogged condensate drain line. The drain line is tasked with emptying the water accrued in your air conditioner’s drain pan into the outdoor unit. When the drain line blocks, the water in the drain pan won’t be emptied. Instead, it will back up and overflow the drain pan, causing a leak.
Condensate drain line clogging is often associated with the buildup of dirt, dust, and debris inside the line. Also, the drain line can clog when more pressure is exerted, making it bend. Homeowners can protect their condensate drain lines against clogging by periodically having the lines checked and cleaned.
Scheduling AC maintenance at least once every six months enables your AC technician to detect and remove drain line clogs before they worsen. Contact a professional AC contractor immediately when you notice leaks from your drain line.
Damaged Drain Pan
When your mini-split air conditioner leaks, the culprit could also be a damaged drain pan. The drain pan is tasked with collecting moisture extracted from the warm air in your home. Your mini-split AC drain pan gets damaged when exposed to various threats, including normal wear and tear. As the drain pan ages, it could corrode, crack, and rust. These could create openings that allow water to leak out, leading to water pooling on your floor.
Failing to seek professional repair services immediately after you discover water leaks risks your AC and home growing mold or suffering from water damage. DIY repairs can leave the drain pan with more damage. Consequently, it’s advisable to hire an AC technician to replace the damaged drain pan and troubleshoot any underlying problems.
Dirty Air Filters
Another common reason your mini-split system leaks is when the air filters become extremely dirty. A dirty air filter risks the efficiency of other mini-split system components. For instance, when the filters accumulate lots of dirt and dust, the particles could be transferred to the indoor unit’s coils. As the coils get crowded by dust and dirt, efficient airflow is reduced, and the risk of the coils freezing increases.
As you already know, when the coils start warming back, the ice and frost will meld, which could leak water onto your floor or down the walls. You can often avoid such issues by changing and cleaning your ductless air filters. Read your system’s mini-split filter-changing guidelines to stay on your toes and change the filters as often as required.
Ice-Covered Evaporator Coils
When dealing with mini-split system leaks, you might need to check if your evaporator coils are frozen. Evaporator coils that aren’t working efficiently are likely to get covered with ice. When the temperatures rise and the coils attain their normal temperatures, the ice will melt, causing water to leak from the mini-split unit. One of the reasons your evaporator coils may fail to work is when the refrigerant levels are lower than recommended. An AC technician can tell when to replenish the refrigerant and easily do it without risking anyone’s health and life.
Another cause of frozen evaporator coils is filthy filters. Ductless air conditioners need efficient airflow to keep everything running smoothly and prevent the possibility of the components freezing over. The air filters are tasked with distributing air throughout the components of your ductless air conditioning unit. When the air filters are dirty or faulty, airflow will be affected. Schedule professional ductless AC cleaning services as often as possible to avoid such issues.
The liquid leaking out of your mini-split system is not always water. In some instances, what is coming out of your ductless air conditioner could be the system’s refrigerant. Your system refrigerant may leak, especially when the unit’s refrigerant line has developed invisible holes. The leading cause of refrigerant leaks is corrosion of the copper walls inside the indoor AC unit. Over time, the copper wall tubes can erode, develop holes and become weak, leading to refrigerant leaking.
Over time, joints and connections in your mini-split system can weaken and corrode, allowing refrigerant leaking. In addition, when the AC system is not installed correctly or has factory defects, it could cause a defect and leaks. AC refrigerant is toxic and should be handled by professionals only. Before you call an HVAC technician, these are signs of refrigerant leaks in a mini-split system:
- Strange jiggling or hissing sounds
- Unexpectedly high energy bills
- Frozen evaporator coils
- Low airflow
- Increased indoor humidity
- Poor and inefficiency system
- Damaged float switch or condensate pump
Ductless air conditioning units installed in an attic or a basement need a condensate pump to efficiently drain water out of the unit. It works such that when the condensate pump reservoir accumulates more water, the float switch will turn on the same as the pump. That activates the condensate pump, enabling it to drain the water out of your home. The condensate pump and the float switch have an indispensable role in easing the water drainage.
If the condensate pump or float switch gets damaged, it won’t be possible to pump water out. In other words, when the condensate pump and float switch are malfunctioning, water will collect inside the pump and leak out of the system. Water accumulation inside your mini-split is a serious threat to the health and performance of other components. It should therefore be addressed with the urgency it deserves. Such a problem is not fixable through DIY methods, so never try resolving the issue by yourself in any instance. Instead, call an AC technician to troubleshoot and repair or replace damaged condensate pumps.
Although not common, mini-split units may also leak when improperly installed. The installation of AC units should be left to professionals. It’s very rare for professionals to improperly install your air conditioning unit. However, if they happen to install the air conditioning unit improperly by bad luck, you might notice water leaking from the unit. The most recommended action is to call our technicians immediately to resolve the issue.
If you note that your ductless air conditioning unit is leaking, these are the leading culprits. You shouldn’t wait until the problem worsens to call an experienced technician. In fact, we at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating advise our clients to call a technician immediately when they notice leaks. We’re a leading HVAC company that’s been serving San Antonio and its surrounding areas since 1990.
Our team has experience providing solutions to most ductless air conditioner problems, including leaks, inefficient operations, increased energy bills, and faulty components. We commit to exceeding our clients’ expectations when installing, repairing, and replacing different types and models of ductless air conditioners. We also provide heating system services. Call us today for free quotes and suggestions.