Don’t wait to contact Georgia Air Cooling & Heating if you notice water leaking from your furnace or AC. Request an appointment with our team today.
As summer approaches and temperatures increase, you’ll need your home’s air conditioner to keep cool and comfortable indoors. The last thing you’d expect is your furnace leaking water when the AC is on, but it happens more often than you might think. Despite being commonplace, a leaking furnace can lead to major issues with your HVAC system, your home’s energy efficiency, and your safety.
As Richmond Hill’s furnace replacement and installation professionals, Georgia Air Cooling & Heating strives to provide all clients with the best HVAC repair services. Our NATE-certified team understands the dangers of a leaky furnace. Here, we share some of the most common ways this situation occurs and what you can do to prevent it.
6 Possible Reasons for a Leaky Furnace
It’s reasonable to assume that a furnace leaking water when your AC is on points to a heating system problem. However, the issue is with one or more of your home’s central air conditioning components.
AC units produce condensation because of the way they work. When the unit’s fan draws in warm air from your home’s interior, it will pass over the system’s evaporator coil, which contains refrigerant. As the refrigerant absorbs the air’s warmth and moisture, it creates condensation.
The condensate drips from the coil into a drain pan before flowing out of the condensate line, where it trickles out of your house. While it’s typical for a central AC unit to produce moisture while running, it shouldn’t create excessive water that could leak from your furnace. If your furnace leaks indoors during the summer, it could be due to one of the following problems.
1. Clogged Condensate Drain Line
A condensate drain line is a metal or heavy-duty plastic pipe that an HVAC contractor attaches to a central air conditioner. The pipe acts as a funnel that leads outside. When an air conditioner creates condensation by generating cool air and reducing a property’s humidity, the moisture will collect in the drain line and trickle outdoors.
When air flows through the cooling system and passes over its evaporator coil, contaminants within the air, like dust and dirt, also collect in the moisture that the coil and refrigerant produce through their heat transfer. Over time, the debris collects inside the condensate drain line, leading to clogs that could prevent water from draining outside properly.
If your system has a clogged drain line, water will likely pool around the base of your HVAC unit. Cleaning debris, sludge, and rust from the condensate drain line should be part of your AC’s regular maintenance to reduce the risk of developing this problem.
2. Disconnected Drain Line
Your AC’s condensate drain shouldn’t disconnect itself for any reason. Still, it could become loose if someone knocks into it after working on or around the cooling system. A slack condensate line could also point to an improper air conditioning installation.
If you think your furnace is leaking because of the AC, check the line to ensure it’s still connected to the system’s output. Tighten the line and ensure it has a firm seal, if necessary.
3. Clogged Air Filter
Residue from a clogged air filter can also contribute to a furnace leaking water when your AC is on. The air circulating through an HVAC system passes through a filter to trap airborne particles, creating cleaner, fresher indoor air. However, you should regularly change the filter to prevent the screens from clogging with dirt, hair, pollen, dust mites, and other pollutants.
Dirty air filters can cause an evaporator coil to freeze. When there isn’t enough air to travel over the piping to facilitate a heat transfer, the coil ices over. The ice thaws whenever the air conditioner turns off, leading to water dripping from the furnace.
Ideally, homeowners should change filters at least once every three months. If you have pets, allergies, or a dust problem, replacing your air filters once monthly to prevent premature clogs is best.
4. Dirty Condensate Pump
A condensate pump collects and disperses the water that forms from the heating and cooling system’s condensation. You likely need this air conditioner component if the system doesn’t use gravity to divert water from the condensate pan to the drain line. Without a pump or a gravity-based drainage system, the water will continue collecting inside the pan and spill over its sides, forming puddles on your floor.
If your system has a drain above the unit, ensure the pump is clean and debris-free. A clog will prevent the condensate pump from removing water from the pan. However, even when clean, a faulty pump can create the same problem.
5. Faulty Evaporator Coil
Sometimes, the problem with a leaky furnace or AC is a bad evaporator coil. If the piping has a crack or other damage preventing it from functioning correctly, the condensation could splash outward instead of flowing directly into the drain pan.
Not only would the moisture leak into your flooring and walls, but it could also drip onto the AC unit’s electrical components. Water around electrical components creates a serious risk of electrical fires. If you suspect your cooling unit’s evaporator coil is faulty, you should take action immediately and contact a qualified HVAC professional.
Your evaporator coil might be faulty if you notice these signs in addition to an HVAC leak:
- Your AC unit will not turn on
- The air coming from your vents is warm
- Refrigerant is leaking from the indoor portion of the cooling system
- The air conditioner stops and starts often without cooling your home efficiently
6. Cracked Drain Pan
A drain pan needs regular emptying to avoid a leak due to overflowing. Like other HVAC components, the pan could be faulty or damaged, causing it to underperform. For instance, a cracked drain pan forces water to drip from the hole and wet the inside of your air conditioning unit.
You might overlook a damaged drain pan at first. However, the water leaking from the pan will eventually get into the HVAC unit and cause a visible puddle or water damage around your furnace. Thankfully, addressing this problem is as simple as replacing the cracked condensate drain pan.
Is It Bad for a Furnace To Leak When the AC Is On?
If your furnace leaks water when the AC is on, you could be looking at serious long-term issues unless you take immediate action. Moisture damage is one of the major problems you could face from a leaky furnace.
Though it might not seem like your furnace leaks excess water, it could still lead to thousands of dollars in property damage if you don’t fix the situation. By handling the leak as soon as you catch it, you could avoid significant damage to your home’s flooring, structural framing, and walls. Excess moisture could also lead to mold growth in your house and allergy-like problems such as:
- Stuffy nose
- Itchy skin
- Red eyes
- Asthma triggers
Not fixing property damage or remediating mold issues can lead to serious hazards in your house and decrease its value and safety. It can also lead to expensive home and HVAC system repairs.
Addressing heating and cooling leaks as soon as you notice them is always best. The longer you ignore a leak, the more costly the damage you’ll have to fix.
How To Stop Furnace Leaks When Your AC Runs
Fixing a leaky furnace involves more than cleaning spilled water. You should also identify the leak’s source and provide necessary repairs to (or replacements of) the faulty parts. Follow these steps if you notice water leaking from your furnace when running your AC:
- Shut off the AC: Turn your HVAC unit off before you even touch it. To ensure proper safety, you can shut everything down from your home’s fuse box.
- Clean up: Promptly clean any mess the leak creates. The longer you ignore standing water, the bigger the risk of inflicting extensive property damage.
- Check the air filter: Inspect the air filter to ensure it’s clean or replace it if dirty. Use a water-safe vacuum to remove debris from the unit.
- Turn on the AC: Turn the cooling unit back on after cleaning it. If the leak stops, you’ve fixed the problem, but you should contact an HVAC contractor if the problem continues.
Call Georgia Air Cooling & Heating To Keep Your AC and Furnace Leak-free
No HVAC project is too much for the Georgia Air Cooling & Heating technicians to handle. From installing variable-speed furnaces to offering quality maintenance for your air conditioner, our HVAC professionals can do it all. Our trusted heating and cooling team in Richmond Hill, GA, uses the best products and years of industry experience to provide the best services possible with 100% satisfaction guaranteed.
Prevent a furnace from leaking water when your AC is on with Georgia Air Cooling & Heating. Call our team at (912) 513-3361 to request a quote.