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

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 usually sent to a drain pan and transported through piping into your home’s drain system.

As a side effect, an error or sludge buildup could cause the piping to become backed up. When this happens, water backs up in the drain pan in your furnace or air handler. It can then reach your home. This is particularly troublesome if your furnace or air handler is up in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In a majority of homes, building codes demand a secondary or safety drain pan that is located underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan possesses piping that is sent to the outside of the home. Most of the time, the outlet of the pipe is found 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 likely a sign the primary drain is blocked and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.

Here are the most frequent reasons for why your AC is leaking water and how to resolve the issue. Some homes could also possess a safety device that can automatically switch off your AC if the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling until the drain is free of any obstructions. Regardless, if you notice water leaking, ensure you set your thermostat to "off" to prevent any additional water damage and call a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently do best with professional help, 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 moves over the evaporator coil, water appears on the cold metal surface. In the end, the water drains into a pan under the indoor coil in 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 can clog the drain. This prevents the water from flowing away like it’s supposed to. Trust the unclogging process to an Expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to guarantee it’s completed properly and without causing more damage. Service Experts can also add a safety device that will autonomously switch off your AC just in case the drain becomes clogged again in the future, thus preventing water damage within your home. Of course, scheduling maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clean and open.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While uncommon, the drain line connection to the drain pan could become loose or disconnected. This will sometimes be the cause if someone is working around the unit or when changing out the air filter. AC leaks may occur when the drain line is lose from the pan. Check your AC to see if the drain line is still attached to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we recommend calling an HVAC technician to resolve this issue immediately. 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 necessary when the home’s drain system is placed above the AC unit. Even if the drain is unobstructed, water could build up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is not functioning. First, double-check 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 Grimy or Damaged

If you see tiny drips in favor of a more substantial puddle around the outside of your furnace or air handler, water might be splashing off the evaporator coil instead of properly flowing into the drain pan and condensate line. This can happen if the coils are dirty, or if holes in the insulation around the coils redirect the water. The best approach to keep 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 like it’s supposed to, the refrigerant level may be insufficient thanks to a leak. Air conditioners use refrigerant to generate cold air, so getting it checked thoroughly during seasonal maintenance is extremely beneficial for the health of your unit. Without a full supply of 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 replenished unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only required when a leak happens in the system. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning right away to take care of 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 fill in the drain pan—potentially producing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem doesn’t go away, additional repairs will sometimes be needed. Thankfully, HVAC technicians from Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are happy to serve you, ensuring the problem gets solved.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are designed to be used during warm weather. Running your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or colder could cause the evaporator coils to freeze. Once thawed, the water and ice will drop off the evaporator coils and may lead to 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 built to last, but nothing lives forever. If you possess an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan could 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 like it’s supposed to.

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 as soon as possible.

Our technicians are well trained, knowledgeable and certified to provide quality 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 advise signing up for 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 cooler.

Contact us at 303-647-5853 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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