Is Your Air Conditioning Leaking Water? Here Are 8 Possible Reasons Why

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 produces condensate, or water, in your furnace or air handler. This water is typically kept in a drain pan and sent through piping into your home’s drain system.

As a side effect, faulty components or sludge buildup can cause the piping to become blocked. When this happens, water returns to the drain pan within your furnace or air handler. It can then leak into your home. This is particularly troublesome if your furnace or air handler is located in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In a majority of homes, municipal codes demand a secondary or safety drain pan that is installed underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan possesses piping that is routed to the outside of the home. In general, the outlet of the pipe is located above the outside of a window so it’s more noticeable if water is draining from this pipe outlet. It is not normal for this to occur. If you see water draining from piping on the outside of your home, this is usually an indication the primary drain is backed up 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 fix the issue. Some homes can also have a safety device that should automatically shut off your AC in the event the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling except if the drain is free of any obstructions. Regardless, if you notice water leaking, ensure you set your thermostat to "off" to stop any other water damage and call a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently require professional repairs, 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. At the end of the process, the water drains into a pan beneath the indoor coil within the furnace or air handler. As the cooling sequence continues, the condensate flows out of the pan and into drain piping before the pan overflows.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris can clog the drain. This stops the water from flowing away like it’s supposed to. Leave the unclogging process to an Expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to ensure it’s handled properly and without causing additional damage. Service Experts can also put in a safety device that will automatically switch off your AC if the drain becomes backed up again sometime after, thus avoiding water damage in your home. Of course, routine maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clear and open.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While not very common, the drain line connection to the drain pan can become loose or disconnected. This may be the cause if someone is working near the unit or when swapping out the air filter. AC leaks may occur when the drain line breaks free from the pan. Inspect your AC to find out if the drain line is still attached to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we suggest calling an HVAC technician to resolve this issue immediately. Schedule an appointment with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners use a condensate pump to efficiently 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 can collect in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is broken. First, make sure that the pump is still powered. If that’s not the case, 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 Broken

If you see tiny drips in favor of a more substantial puddle close to the outside of your furnace or air handler, water could be bouncing off the evaporator coil rather than properly flowing into the drain pan and condensate line. This can be the case if the coils are grimy, or if holes in the insulation protecting 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 discover a leak and the AC isn't cooling well, the refrigerant level may be lacking due to a leak. Air conditioners need refrigerant to generate cold air, so getting it checked consistently during seasonal maintenance is incredibly important for the health of your unit. Without a full supply of refrigerant, the evaporator coils might freeze over and cause the drain pan to overflow as they thaw. Despite some expectations, your AC does not need to be refilled 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 as soon as you can to repair AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter should be changed regularly to produce enough airflow. Without adequate ventilation, the evaporator coils can 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 remains, additional repairs might be needed. Fortunately, HVAC technicians from Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are happy to serve you, ensuring the problem gets fixed.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are built to be used during warm weather. Running 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 may lead to an overflow because of 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 made to last, but nothing lives forever. If you use an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan may be damaged or corroded due to normal use. If the drain pan has holes in it, a water leak could 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 complete 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 may help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, sooner so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cooler.

Contact us at 925-364-5427 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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