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

An air conditioner (AC) keeps your house cool and comfortable by pulling 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.

A byproduct of this process, an error or sludge buildup can cause the piping to become backed up. When this happens, water returns to the drain pan inside your furnace or air handler. It can then spill into your home. This is decidedly troublesome if your furnace or air handler is installed in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In the bulk of homes, local codes demand a secondary or safety drain pan that is found underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan uses piping that is sent to the outside of the home. Typically, the outlet of the pipe is placed above the outside of a window so it’s easily noticeable if water begins 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 often evidence the primary drain is blocked 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 fix the issue. Some homes will also have a safety device that will automatically turn off your AC if the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling except if the drain is free of any obstructions. Regardless, if you discover water leaking, make sure to set your thermostat to "off" to minimize any additional water damage and call a Climate Control Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners routinely need professional servicing, which is why we’re here to assist you at Climate Control Service Experts. 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 chilled metal surface. At the end of the process, the water drains into a pan beneath the indoor coil in 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 overflows.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris can clog the drain. This prevents the water from flowing away like it’s supposed to. Trust the unclogging process to an Expert like Climate Control Service Experts to ensure it’s performed properly and without causing additional damage. Service Experts can also put in a safety device that will autonomously switch off your AC just in case the drain becomes backed up again sometime after, thus minimizing water damage inside your home. Of course, consistent maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clear and open.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While somewhat rare, the drain line connection to the drain pan can become loose or disconnected. This will sometimes be the cause if someone is working close to the unit or when swapping out the air filter. AC leaks can occur when the drain line is disconnected from the pan. Take a look inside your AC to find out if the drain line is still attached to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we encourage calling an HVAC technician to take care of this issue as soon as possible. Arrange an appointment with Climate Control Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners require a condensate pump to adequately drain the water. These pumps are necessary when the home’s drain system is placed above the AC unit. Even if the drain is free of obstructions, water can collect in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is not functioning. First, make sure that the pump is being powered. If that’s not the problem, the AC leak may be due to a broken condensate pump. You should call an air conditioning contractor like Climate Control Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grubby or Broken

If you see tiny drips instead of a larger puddle around the outside of your furnace or air handler, water could be splashing off the evaporator coil compared to properly draining into the drain pan and condensate line. This can occur if the coils are grimy, or if holes in the insulation surrounding the coils redirect the water. The easiest approach to prevent the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a Climate Control Service Experts membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you uncover a leak and the AC isn't cooling well, the refrigerant level may be insufficient due to a leak. Air conditioners depend on refrigerant to create cold air, so getting it checked consistently during seasonal maintenance is highly useful for the health of your unit. Without enough refrigerant, the evaporator coils may 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 done when a leak appears in the system. Call Climate Control Service Experts 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 may become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to accumulate in the drain pan—sometimes producing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem remains, more repairs will sometimes be required. Fortunately, HVAC technicians from Climate Control Service Experts are happy to serve you, ensuring the problem gets resolved.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are designed to provide enough cooling for warm weather. Running your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below 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 thanks to ice blocking the drain pan opening. If a water leak persists, schedule a Climate Control Service Experts technician backed by our 100% service guarantee* to help solve the problem.

8. Damaged Drip Pan

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

Our Experts Can Meet All Your Air Conditioning Repair Needs

Whatever the reason why your AC is leaking water, Climate Control Service Experts can help. We’ll troubleshoot and fix your air conditioner, getting it back to running again as soon as possible.

Our technicians are highly trained, knowledgeable and certified to provide 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 suggest a worry-free membership plan. This can help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, faster so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cool.

Contact us at 251-202-7503 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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