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

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.

Unfortunately, a malfunction or sludge buildup may cause the piping to become backed up. When this happens, water returns to the drain pan in your furnace or air handler. It can then leak into your home. This is namely troublesome if your furnace or air handler is up in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In the bulk of homes, municipal codes demand a secondary or safety drain pan that is put underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan uses piping that is directed 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 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 likely a sign 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 may also have a safety device that should automatically turn off your AC if the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling until the drain is cleared of any obstructions. Regardless, if you notice water leaking, be sure to set your thermostat to "off" to prevent anymore water damage and call a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners routinely require professional help, which is why we’re here to assist you at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We consistently 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 condenses on the cold metal surface. Ultimately, the water drains into a pan beneath 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 can clog the drain. This keeps the water from flowing away properly. Entrust the unclogging process to an Expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to guarantee it’s handled properly and without causing additional damage. Service Experts can also install a safety device that will automatically shut off your AC in the event the drain becomes blocked again sometime after, thus avoiding water damage within your home. Of course, scheduling maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clean and unhindered.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While not very common, the drain line connection to the drain pan may become loose or disconnected. This may 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 lose from the pan. Inspect 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 repair this issue immediately. Arrange an appointment with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners need a condensate pump to adequately drain the water. These pumps are required when the home’s drain system is found above the AC unit. Even if the drain is free of obstructions, water may build up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is inoperable. First, make sure that the pump is still powered. If that’s not the case, 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 Dirty or Damaged

If you see tiny drips instead of a more substantial puddle near the outside of your furnace or air handler, water might be bouncing off the evaporator coil compared to properly flowing 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 best 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 uncover a leak and the AC isn't cooling properly, the refrigerant level may be low due to a leak. Air conditioners use refrigerant to create cold air, so getting it looked at consistently during seasonal maintenance is highly important for the working condition of your unit. Without adequate refrigerant, the evaporator coils could freeze over and cause the drain pan to overflow as they thaw. Opposite of 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 inside the system. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning as soon as possible to repair 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 can become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to accumulate in the drain pan—possibly creating an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem persists, further repairs will sometimes be the best option. Thankfully, HVAC technicians from Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are willing and able 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. Starting your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below may cause the evaporator coils to freeze. Once thawed, the water and ice will drop off the evaporator coils and potentially create an overflow thanks 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 made to last, but nothing lives forever. If you own an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan could be damaged or corroded after years of 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 properly.

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 solve the issue. We’ll troubleshoot and fix your air conditioner, getting it back to running again as soon as possible.

Our technicians are well 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 talk about enrolling in a worry-free membership plan. This could help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, faster so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house comfortable.

Contact us at 330-269-7235 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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