Why Is My Heat Pump Leaking?

Two residential heat pumps sitting on brick walkway in Beaufort, SC.
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When given a choice between different HVAC systems, you may have gone with a heat pump for its energy-efficient heating during the mild Southern winter and excellent cooling capabilities during the hot, humid summer. If you recently noticed that your heat pump is leaking, you’re right to be concerned. Learn more about heat pumps, the most likely reasons for the leak, and how to remedy the problem.

How Do Heat Pumps Work?

If you’re familiar with how an air conditioner works, you’re already halfway there! In the summer, a heat pump functions the same as an AC unit: The refrigerant absorbs heat from indoor air as it blows over the evaporator coil, leaving cold air behind to circulate back into your house. Meanwhile, heat is exhausted outside through the condensing unit.

An ingenious reversing valve allows heat pumps to heat your home in the winter as well. The process works in reverse: Refrigerant extracts heat from outdoor air and uses it to warm your home, while cold air is exhausted outside. Moving heat with electricity in this way is most efficient in mild Southern climates where the temperature rarely drops below freezing. During cold spells, a backup electric resistance heater kicks on to keep the house comfortable.

Why Is My Heat Pump Leaking?

Along with extracting heat from the air, heat pumps also remove excess humidity. Moisture condenses on the indoor evaporator coil and drips into the condensate pan below. If enough moisture accumulates, the condensate flows down a drain.

Keep in mind that it’s normal for water to collect in the condensate pan. However, if liquid is pooling on the floor around the heat pump, you have a problem. Here are the most likely reasons your heat pump is leaking and what to do about it.

Ice on the Evaporator Coil

Under normal conditions, the refrigerant running through the evaporator coil absorbs enough heat to keep the coil above freezing. However, if the system is low on refrigerant or the air flowing over the coil is restricted, ice may form. As the ice melts, a puddle forms around the heat pump, creating the appearance of a leak.

If you see ice on the evaporator coil, replace the air filter to improve airflow. If that doesn’t help, you might have a refrigerant leak. Professional service is required to fix the leak and recharge the system.

Cracked Condensate Pan

Check the pan beneath your heat pump for signs of corrosion or cracks. If these problems occur, water could find its way onto the floor. Patch up the pan or install a new one to remedy the problem.

Clogged Condensate Drain

In our humid Southern climate, the condensate pan often fills enough to utilize the drain function. However, algae growth and other obstructions could clog the drain over time. When this happens, the condensate pan may overflow.

To fix the problem, pour a solution of one cup water and one cup bleach or vinegar down the drain to kill algae and other microbial growth. Perform this preventative measure once or twice a year to keep the drain line clear.

Schedule Heat Pump Repair in Beaufort, SC or Augusta, GA

You can usually avoid a frozen coil, cracked condensate pan, or blocked condensate drain by scheduling routine heat pump maintenance at least once a year. If you’re currently facing one of these problems, seek immediate heat pump repair to avoid water damage.

Beaufort Air Conditioning is your source for reliable heat pump service in Beaufort and Augusta. Our friendly, certified technicians can diagnose your leaky heat pump and recommend a long-term fix. With our help, your heat pump will keep your home comfortable for many years to come!

Give us a call at (843) 524-0996 or contact us online to request heat pump repair today.

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