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

A byproduct of this process, a malfunction or sludge buildup can cause the piping to become blocked. When this happens, water floods the drain pan within your furnace or air handler. It can then reach your home. This is particularly troublesome if your furnace or air handler is located in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In most homes, building codes require a secondary or safety drain pan that is located underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan has 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 often a sign the primary drain is backed up and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.

Here are the most general explanations for why your AC is leaking water and how to resolve the issue. Some homes will also have a safety device that should automatically turn off your AC should the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling until the drain is cleaned of any obstructions. Regardless, if you see water leaking, make sure to set your thermostat to "off" to stop any additional water damage and reach out to a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning service provider to correct the issues.

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

1. Condensate Drain Is Blocked

When hot, humid air runs along the evaporator coil, water appears on the cold metal surface. In the end, the water drains into a pan underneath the indoor coil inside the furnace or air handler. As the cooling sequence occurs, 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 keeps the water from moving away like it’s supposed to. Trust the unclogging process to an Expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to ensure it’s performed properly and without causing further damage. Service Experts can also add a safety device that will quickly switch off your AC just in case the drain becomes clogged again sometime after, thus minimizing water damage within your home. Of course, consistent maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clean 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 can happen if someone is working nearby the unit or when changing out the air filter. AC leaks may occur when the drain line breaks free from the pan. Inspect your AC to determine if the drain line is still fully connected to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we encourage calling an HVAC technician to resolve this issue as soon as possible. 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 properly drain the water. These pumps are needed when the home’s drain system is placed above the AC unit. Even if the drain is clear, water can collect in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is broken. First, double-check that the pump is being powered. If that’s not the root cause, the AC leak might be due to a broken condensate pump. You should check with an air conditioning contractor like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grubby or Broken

If you see small drips in favor of a bigger puddle around the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be splashing off the evaporator coil instead of properly flowing into the drain pan and condensate line. This can be the case if the coils are dirty, or if holes in the insulation surrounding the coils redirect the water. The smart approach to stop 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 enough, the refrigerant level may be lacking thanks to a leak. Air conditioners rely on refrigerant to generate cold air, so getting it checked consistently during seasonal maintenance is very useful for the working condition of your unit. Without enough refrigerant, the evaporator coils might freeze over and cause the drain pan to overflow as they thaw. Opposite of some expectations, your AC does not need to be replenished unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only required when a leak occurs inside the system. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning immediately to repair AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter needs to 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 collect in the drain pan—possibly creating an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem persists, further repairs might be necessary. Luckily, HVAC technicians from Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are ready to serve you, ensuring the problem gets fixed.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are made to run during warm weather. Using your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower will sometimes cause the evaporator coils to freeze. Once thawed, the water and ice will drop off the evaporator coils and may lead to 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 built to last, but nothing lasts forever. If you own an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan might 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 properly.

Our Experts Can Handle All Your Air Conditioning Repair Needs

Whatever the reason why your AC is leaking water, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can fix the problem. We’ll troubleshoot and fix your air conditioner, getting it back to running again without delay.

Our technicians are thoroughly trained, knowledgeable and certified to provide exceptional 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, sooner so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house comfortable.

Contact us at 866-397-3787 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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