Is Your Air Conditioning Leaking Water? Here Are 8 Possible Causes

An air conditioner (AC) keeps your house cool and comfortable by removing heat and humidity from the air. As the AC extracts humidity from the air, it generates condensate, or water, in your furnace or air handler. This water is typically collected in a drain pan and routed through piping into your home’s drain system.

Unfortunately, a malfunction or sludge buildup can cause the piping to become blocked. When this happens, water returns to the drain pan inside your furnace or air handler. It can then spill into your home. This is particularly troublesome if your furnace or air handler is installed in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In most homes, municipal codes demand a secondary or safety drain pan that is located underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan possesses piping that is routed to the outside of the home. Typically, the outlet of the pipe is placed above the outside of a window so it’s quickly noticeable if water starts draining from this pipe outlet. It is not normal for this to occur. If you see water spilling from piping on the outside of your home, this is usually evidence the primary drain is clogged and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.

Here are the most frequent causes for why your AC is leaking water and how to repair the issue. Some homes can also use a safety device that can automatically switch off your AC if the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling except if the drain is cleared of any obstructions. Regardless, if you see water leaking, ensure you set your thermostat to "off" to avoid any other water damage and call a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners routinely require professional servicing, which is why we’re here to assist you at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We proudly deliver Expert air conditioning repair across North America, backed by a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.*

1. Condensate Drain Is Blocked

When hot, humid air moves over the evaporator coil, water collects on the cold metal surface. In the end, the water drains into a pan under the indoor coil in the furnace or air handler. As the cooling sequence continues, the condensate flows out of the pan and into drain piping before the pan becomes full.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris might clog the drain. This stops the water from draining away like it’s supposed to. Leave the unclogging process to an Expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to ensure it’s done properly and without causing additional damage. Service Experts can also add a safety device that will automatically switch off your AC just in case the drain becomes blocked again later on, thus preventing water damage inside your home. Of course, routine maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain flushed and unhindered.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While uncommon, the drain line connection to the drain pan may become loose or disconnected. This may occur if someone is working nearby the unit or when replacing the air filter. AC leaks can occur when the drain line disconnects from the pan. Take a look inside your AC to see if the drain line is still connected to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we encourage calling an HVAC technician to take care of this issue right away. Request an appointment with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners require a condensate pump to properly drain the water. These pumps are compulsory when the home’s drain system is put above the AC unit. Even if the drain is unobstructed, water may collect in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is not functioning. First, make sure that the pump is still powered. If that’s not the problem, the AC leak might be due to a broken condensate pump. You should call an air conditioning contractor like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grimy or Cracked

If you see tiny drips instead of a larger puddle close to the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be splashing off the evaporator coil rather than properly flowing into the drain pan and condensate line. This can happen if the coils are grimy, or if holes in the insulation protecting the coils redirect the water. The best approach to keep the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you find a leak and the AC isn't cooling well, the refrigerant level may be insufficient because of a leak. Air conditioners use refrigerant to generate cold air, so getting it inspected regularly during seasonal maintenance is very useful for the life span of your unit. Without a full supply of refrigerant, the evaporator coils can freeze over and cause the drain pan to overflow as they thaw. Contrary to some expectations, your AC does not need to be replenished unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only needed when a leak occurs inside the system. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning right away to take care of AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter should be changed regularly to encourage proper airflow. Without adequate ventilation, the evaporator coils could become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to fill in the drain pan—potentially creating an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem doesn’t go away, more repairs will sometimes be necessary. Thankfully, HVAC technicians from Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are willing and able to serve you, ensuring the problem gets solved.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are built to run during warm weather. Using your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below could cause the evaporator coils to freeze. Once thawed, the water and ice will drop off the evaporator coils and may lead to an overflow due to ice blocking the drain pan opening. If a water leak persists, schedule a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning technician backed by our 100% service guarantee* to help solve the problem.

8. Damaged Drip Pan

Air conditioners are designed to last, but nothing lives forever. If you have an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan may be damaged or corroded even with normal use. If the drain pan has holes in it, a water leak may appear as condensate seeps directly through it. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can replace the drain pan and ensure your AC gets back to working like it’s supposed to.

Our Experts Can Tackle All Your Air Conditioning Repair Needs

Whatever the reason why your AC is leaking water, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. We’ll troubleshoot and fix your air conditioner, getting it back to running again right away.

Our technicians are highly trained, knowledgeable and certified to perform exemplary work. We have full confidence in our repairs—in fact, we back up everything we perform with a one-year 100% Satisfaction Guarantee!*

We’ll even suggest a worry-free membership plan. This will sometimes help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, more quickly so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house comfortable.

Contact us at 919-578-4329 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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