How Do I Know a Leak Is Coming from a Roof Air Conditioner?

blog ACUnits 1200x675 1

If water flows into your home or business, it can look like a roof leak. A roof air conditioner can leak as well. Since air conditioners run pretty much constantly in the Phoenix area, this is a real possibility. Leaks from an AC unit on your roof can do substantial property damage. 

To determine whether the leak is from your roof air conditioner, here are some questions you should consider:

Has It Rained Recently?

You may have real suspicion of a roof leak. But is it raining outside or has it rained recently? If not, there’s probably not a leak from your roof. The most likely source is your HVAC system or some other mechanical system or component.

Is Water Leaking from a Ceiling Tile or a Vent?

If a ceiling tile is stained, remove it to determine the source of the water damage. It may be due to a leaky pipe. The challenge here is stains often don’t appear at the exact source of a leak. However, if the water is dripping from an HVAC vent that’s connected to a rooftop AC, it’s safe to assume your air conditioning system is leaking.

When water is dripping from a rooftop AC into your property, you can:

  • Unclog the P-Trap: Try to disassemble this plastic pipe so you can unclog it. If it doesn’t remove easily, use a pen, wire hanger, or your finger to remove the material blocking the line.
  • Secure the HVAC Panel Doors: To test a panel door while the unit is running, hold a business card or dollar bill against the seam. If it falls to the ground, air is not pulling in, meaning the door is properly secured. But if it sticks, the door is not secured (meaning air and rainwater will be sucked in, causing leakage).
  • Inspect the Coil: Locate the coolant coils to determine if they are frozen. If so, then ice from the surface of the coil is likely melting and dripping into the return air vent.

Are the Seams Around the HVAC Unit Leaking?

Check the seams around the unit’s support platform. It’s usually about three feet above the roof surface and covered by roofing material. Bends in the material are susceptible to wear and can eventually crack. A leak can then occur, but an HVAC technician or roofing contractor can patch up the material with roofing tar.

Does the Drain Pan Appear to Be Leaking?

Another job for an HVAC tech or a roofer is to fix the drain pan. As condensate forms during the cooling process, the pan collects the water before it goes into the drain line. If the drain pan becomes cracked or corroded, water can leak and ultimately find its way through the roof into your home or business.

Can Rain Affect My Roof Air Conditioner?

An AC unit can sometimes leak when it rains. This scenario can occur because:

  • Water from the storm is sucked into the unit and blown in with cooled air.
  • Rainwater fills the drain pan, causing it to overflow.
  • Overflowing water damages roof shingles and underlying materials.

Therefore, you may start to see water droplets form on the ceiling. A steady drip of water can occur as well. But a roof AC can leak whether it rains or not. If it’s not an easy fix or the problem continues to occur or worsen, call an HVAC technician to inspect the system, diagnose the problem, and make the appropriate repairs.

Contact Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing

Our licensed HVAC technicians in Phoenix, AZ can investigate your potential roof air conditioner leak. They are skilled AC repair contractors who can address any problem or sign of wear. An AC leak is one of the most common HVAC issues we encounter and our trained experts can usually fix it quickly. If you suspect your roof air conditioner is leaking or aren’t sure of the source, call 602-497-2905 to request service.