Leaking indoor split a/c unit in winter

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Old 01-28-15, 07:41 PM
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Leaking indoor split a/c unit in winter

We have a Frigidaire split system a/c unit in our dining room that started leaking steadily a few hours ago. The mystery is that it's now January in New York, it's below freezing outside, and this is NOT a heating unit… it hasn't been used since September. Suddenly water started dripping from the bottom of the indoor unit… we're filling buckets. Where could the water be coming from? I've heard of this problem resulting from condensation buildup and a blocked exit hose, but not in winter when the unit isn't (or hasn't been) running...?

I called our installer and he was pretty nonchalant about it. He said we needed to perform regular yearly maintenance on it (we haven't in the two years since it was installed, other than cleaning the filters ourselves). He might not be able to service the unit for several more days, and we're concerned about keeping up with the leak. Any suggestions/thoughts? Could it be snow or ice related? The leaking water is quite cold, so it must be coming from outside somewhere, but everything looks normal with all the ducts and hoses. Plus any water outside would be frozen, it's in the 20's now.

Thanks for any help you can offer!
 
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Old 01-28-15, 07:55 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

If that split unit is not in use then there should be absolutely no water coming out of it.
Is there any plumbing or a bathroom above that could be leaking ?
 
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Old 01-28-15, 09:06 PM
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Thanks. No, there is no plumbing whatsoever anywhere near the unit. All I can think of is that our outdoor downspout is clogged or frozen just below the drainage tube of the unit. The snow on the roof could be melting into the gutter and downspout, and then coming into the unit through the drainage tube as the result of a clog. The drainage tube feels cold and damp to the touch, so that seems to be the source of the water. Although, we installed a very wide downspout to our gutter to avoid clogs.

We have another split a/c unit on the floor below and one on the floor above, and they are not leaking… nor are their drainage tubes cold.
 
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Old 01-28-15, 11:01 PM
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Where is the drainage tube.... laying in a gutter ? Sounds like a questionable installation to me.
 
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Old 01-29-15, 04:19 AM
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The drainage tube goes outside through the wall, then downward at about a 70 degree angle into the downspout on the side of the house, about 8 feet above the ground. I'd say it's two feet in total length, about a foot inside and a foot outside. I think it's actually installed well, and well sealed.

Incidentally the leak stopped at around 12:30 AM last night, after about 5 hours of steady dripping. I'm still baffled about what's causing it.
 
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Old 01-29-15, 08:48 AM
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It sounds like the downspout is frozen below where the drain line connects and as it fills up the runoff from the snow is coming back up the drain tube.

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Old 01-30-15, 07:02 AM
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Yes, I think that's right. I took a good look at the back of the house yesterday, and there is snow and ice buildup on the gutter, and the downspout appears to be frozen inside. It was recommended to me to disconnect the drainage tubes from the downspout to eliminate the leak potential, and then reconnect them in the Spring… and make that a seasonal course of action. Seems reasonable, would you agree?
 
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Old 01-30-15, 09:21 AM
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That would be an inconvenient seasonal course of action but definitely necessary at this point.

You could extend that drain hose to reach the ground and possibly keep it hidden behind the downspout.
 
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Old 01-30-15, 02:16 PM
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Actually our plumber said the reason for the downspout freeze-up is that somewhere between the downspout and the street there's a clog (the downspout connects to a drainage pipe that runs under the house to the NYC sewer, back to front about 40 feet). I'll get it snaked out when it gets warmer, then I can reconnect the a/c drainage tubes and hopefully be done with it!

Thanks again for your help and advice.
 
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Old 01-31-15, 11:24 AM
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You're welcome and good luck.
 
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