Your portable AC can leak water for a variety of reasons including problems with dirty air filters, clogged drain lines, and even broken float switches.
A portable air conditioner (AC) sometimes needs to be drained when the accumulated moisture cannot be expelled through the exhaust vent or reused.
However, when this moisture is not drained and starts to build up within the unit, it can cause the AC to leak. This can happen for various reasons, such as dirty air filters, clogged drain lines, and faulty float switches.
Does a portable air conditioner need to be drained?
Portable air conditioners work in the same way as all the other kinds of air conditioners. The unit extracts the warm and humid air from your room and runs it over cold evaporator coils that are filled with refrigerant.
A compressor continually changes the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas form, so that latent heat and moisture can be removed from this air.
Most portable air conditioners either recycle this moisture or get rid of it through the exhaust vent. However, when the moisture cannot be disposed of in this way, it collects in the internal tank or condensate drip tray of your AC unit.
Why is my portable AC leaking water?
As convenient and flexible as portable air conditioners are, when this drainage system does not work as it should, it can lead to problems with leaking and spills.
When your portable AC leaks, this can end up causing permanent damage to the floor underneath the air conditioner or even loose rugs or furniture that are close to the unit.
This is why it is important that you understand the possible reasons why your portable air conditioner is leaking and how you can prevent this from happening with your AC again in the future.
Your portable air conditioner may simply be leaking because the drip tray is overflowing. When this happens, you need to drain the drip tray by unplugging the unit from the power supply and then unscrewing the drain plug, and draining the moisture into a bowl or floor drain.
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However, if your air conditioner needs to be drained too often or it is leaking even after you have drained it, you should start looking at other potential causes, such as:
- The air filters are dirty
- You may have a clogged drain line or damaged drain plug
- The float switch is not working
Why dirty air filters may be causing your portable AC to leak
The air filters in your portable air conditioner are usually responsible for filtering out particles like dust, pet dander, dirt, and other impurities from the air.
These particles can build up on the air filters in your unit over time and this could be causing a blockage of airflow when the AC is turned on. This lack of sufficient airflow may cause the coils to get too cold and freeze.
Your air conditioner’s leak may be caused by the ice around these coils melting when the AC is turned off. In order to prevent this kind of leak from happening again in the future, you can clean the air filters with a vacuum, or with lukewarm water, a gentle detergent, and a soft brush.
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Why a clogged drain line or damaged plug could be causing your portable AC to leak
If you have a continuous drain line attached to your portable air conditioner or a condensate pump which is supposed to drain the unit automatically, but it is leaking, or your unit is not draining, but leaking – this indicates that you may have a clogged drain line.
When the water cannot exit the portable AC via the drain line, the drip tray can fill up and overflow, which, in turn, causes the entire unit to leak.
If the plug on the end of the drain line is not forming a waterproof seal, this can cause your portable AC to leak from this plug. You can insert a waterproof drain plug to improve this seal.
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Why your float switch not working may be causing your portable AC to leak
The float switch is a device in your portable AC that signals to the AC that the drip pan is full when the switch is activated.
When this switch is faulty, your air conditioner will not know that the drain pan is too full, and it will eventually overflow and leak onto the floor.
You can purchase replacement float switches to prevent this from occurring again in the future.