Here in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, more homeowners than ever have turned to the latest in ductless mini-split systems to heat and cool their homes. However, they aren’t the same as traditional ducted heating and cooling solutions. As a result, mini-splits sometimes behave in ways that homeowners don’t expect. And sometimes, they develop issues that could seem like major problems to those who’ve never seen them before.
One such problem is when a mini-split begins leaking water. It’s something that wouldn’t typically happen to a conventional HVAC system, at least anywhere that a homeowner would notice it right away. When it happens to a mini-split, though, it’s not necessarily a big problem. To explain, here are four common reasons your mini-split might leak water and what to do about them.
1. A Slow or Clogged Drain Line
While it might seem counterintuitive, it’s normal for your mini-split to create condensation when it’s running in cooling mode. It’s a result of the warm air in your home coming into contact with the cold evaporator coils in the air handler. Most of the time, though, your mini-split won’t allow that water to escape. Instead, it uses a built-in drain line to allow the condensation to collect and carry it away from the unit to the outside of your home. So, when your mini-split starts leaking water, it’s often because of a slow or clogged drain line.
A quick way to check if your mini-split’s drain line is the culprit is to go outside your home and look for the end of the line. If nothing is coming out of it while your mini-split runs in cooling mode, there’s a good chance the line’s clogged. You shouldn’t try to clear it out yourself, however, unless the clog is at one of the ends of the line, and you can see it. If not, call in the experts from Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling and we’ll take care of it for you.
2. A Cracked or Damaged Drain Pan
There’s another part of your mini-split’s drainage system that’s often the cause of water leaks. It’s the drain pan inside the air handler that collects the condensation from the evaporator coil and carries it to the drain line. If the pan develops a crack or begins to degrade in a way that compromises it, the water it collects may start to leak out. This is another issue that you might be able to spot yourself. However, you won’t be able to fix it.
The first thing to do is to take a look at where the leak in your air handler appears to come from. If it’s coming from the opposite side of the unit from where the drain line is, a damaged drain pan could be the source of your trouble. In that case, it means the drain pan’s allowing condensation to escape before it ever reaches the unit’s drain line. Fixing the problem means replacing the drain pan, which is another job you should leave to the professionals here at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling.
3. A Dirty or Obstructed Filter
Another reason why your mini-split might leak water is a dirty or obstructed air filter. When the filter in your mini-split isn’t allowing proper airflow across the evaporator coil, your air handler will start to freeze up. Then, when the ice starts to melt, it will overwhelm the drainage system, leading to a leak. The good news about this problem is that there’s an easy fix.
To find out if your air filter’s the culprit, simply remove it and clean it. Most mini-splits feature one or two plastic air filters meant to trap dirt and debris that would otherwise circulate in your home’s air. They can only hold so much, though. If you clean your filters and the water leak goes away, you should be able to resume using your system without trouble.
Changing your mini-split’s air filter is crucial at least once a month. During your annual system tune-up, your technician from Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling can provide you with a maintenance schedule for your unit to keep it working optimally between tune-ups.
4. Your Mini-split Needs Refrigerant
Although it’s not a very common issue, another problem that could cause your mini-split to leak water is that it has run low on refrigerant. Your mini-split’s refrigerant lines shouldn’t lose any refrigerant unless they develop a leak, and this is uncommonm. Under normal operating conditions, a mini-split can go between two and five years without needing a refrigerant recharge. In some cases, they may go far longer than that.
If your mini-split does run low on refrigerant, however, it can lead to a water leak because a mini-split running low on refrigerant will get far colder than it should. That causes the evaporator coils to freeze, much like a dirty air filter would. Then, the melting ice would cause the unit to develop a leak. Worse still, operating your mini-split while it’s low on refrigerant can damage the system’s compressor. Then, you’d be dealing with a much bigger problem than a simple water leak.
The best way to avoid this situation altogether is to schedule a yearly maintenance visit with Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling. Our expert technicians will check out your whole mini-split system and look for any signs of unusual wear and tear. That includes checking to see that your mini-split has the right amount of refrigerant in it. If it doesn’t, they’ll look for any abnormalities in the refrigerant lines and make the necessary repairs or arrangements. Then, they’ll refill your mini-split with the appropriate refrigerant and test it to make sure everything works as it should.
Call the Mini-split HVAC Experts
Now that you know all of the reasons why your mini-split system could start leaking water, you should be better equipped to handle the situation if it does occur. As you can see, many of the things that could cause such a leak aren’t very serious and require only a minor repair to correct. However, you should never ignore it if your mini-split starts to leak. If you allow the problem to go unaddressed, the leak could damage your home’s walls and even your mini-split system itself.
Fortunately, there’s no reason you should ever have to take that chance–not when getting the problem fixed takes just one simple call to Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling. We serve the residents of the Grand Rapids area with pride. And we’ve offered quality heating and cooling services to the community since 1961. Our team of factory-trained technicians can solve any problem that your mini-split system develops.
We also offer a complete range of HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair options should your home have any other HVAC needs. Plus, we offer air quality services to help you improve your home’s air. That way, you’ll always know that the air that you and your family breathes is as clean and healthy as possible. So, if your mini-split starts leaking water, or you have any other HVAC issues you need help with, contact Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling today!