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

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

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

In the bulk of homes, building codes necessitate a secondary or safety drain pan that is installed underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan has piping that is directed to the outside of the home. Usually, the outlet of the pipe is located above the outside of a window so it’s more noticeable if water starts draining from this pipe outlet. It is not normal for this to occur. If you see water dripping from piping on the outside of your home, this is usually a sign the primary drain is clogged and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.

Here are the most general causes for why your AC is leaking water and how to repair the issue. Some homes may also use a safety device that should automatically shut off your AC should the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling until the drain is cleared of any obstructions. Regardless, if you discover water leaking, be sure to set your thermostat to "off" to minimize any further water damage and get in touch with a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently require professional support, 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 reaches the evaporator coil, water collects on the cold metal surface. Ultimately, the water drains into a pan under the indoor coil inside the furnace or air handler. As the cooling sequence takes place, the condensate flows out of the pan and into drain piping before the pan becomes full.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris could clog the drain. This prevents the water from draining away like it’s supposed to. Trust the unclogging process to an Expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to make sure it’s done properly and without causing additional damage. Service Experts can also add a safety device that will quickly turn off your AC if the drain becomes blocked again later on, thus preventing water damage within your home. Of course, consistent maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain flushed and unhampered.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While not very common, the drain line connection to the drain pan could become loose or disconnected. This may happen if someone is working nearby the unit or when replacing the air filter. AC leaks might occur when the drain line is disconnected from the pan. Check your AC to find out if the drain line is still leading to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we suggest calling an HVAC technician to resolve this issue right away. Arrange an appointment with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners rely on a condensate pump to adequately drain the water. These pumps are compulsory when the home’s drain system is located above the AC unit. Even if the drain is free of obstructions, water might build up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is malfunctioning. First, make sure that the pump is currently powered. If that’s not the root cause, the AC leak could be due to a broken condensate pump. You should contact an air conditioning contractor like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Dirty or Damaged

If you see tiny drips rather than a more substantial puddle close to the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be bouncing off the evaporator coil compared to properly moving into the drain pan and condensate line. This can be the case if the coils are dirty, or if holes in the insulation around the coils redirect the water. The smart approach to prevent 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 enough, the refrigerant level may be lacking because of a leak. Air conditioners need refrigerant to generate cold air, so getting it inspected consistently during seasonal maintenance is incredibly beneficial for the working condition of your unit. Without adequate refrigerant, the evaporator coils might freeze over and cause the drain pan to overflow as they thaw. Contrary to some expectations, your AC does not need to be refilled unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only done when a leak happens inside the system. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning immediately to take care of AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter needs to be changed regularly to encourage enough 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—sometimes producing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem doesn’t go away, more repairs may be necessary. Thankfully, HVAC technicians from Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are ready to serve you, ensuring the problem gets solved.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are made to be used during warm weather. Using your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or colder can cause the evaporator coils to freeze. Once thawed, the water and ice will drop off the evaporator coils and possibly result in 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 manufactured to last, but nothing lasts forever. If you own 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 might 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 normally.

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 repair the damage. 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 dependable 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 recommend a worry-free membership plan. This will sometimes help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, faster so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house comfortable.

Contact us at 330-235-1260 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!