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 transported through piping into your home’s drain system.

Unfortunately, a malfunction or sludge buildup could 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 placed in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In the bulk of homes, building codes require a secondary or safety drain pan that is found underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan possesses piping that is directed to the outside of the home. Usually, the outlet of the pipe is located above the outside of a window so it’s easily noticeable if water is 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 usually evidence the primary drain is blocked and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.

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

Leaking air conditioners routinely need 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 moves over 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 fills up.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris could clog the drain. This stops the water from flowing away correctly. 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 add a safety device that will automatically shut off your AC just in case the drain becomes blocked again later on, thus minimizing water damage in your home. Of course, consistent maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clean and unhampered.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While somewhat rare, the drain line connection to the drain pan could 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 fully connected 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. Schedule an appointment with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners need a condensate pump to efficiently drain the water. These pumps are needed when the home’s drain system is located above the AC unit. Even if the drain is unobstructed, water may build up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is inoperable. First, make sure that the pump is currently powered. If that’s not the case, the AC leak may 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 Cracked

If you see little drips rather than a more substantial puddle close to the outside of your furnace or air handler, water might be bouncing off the evaporator coil instead of 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 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 uncover a leak and the AC isn't cooling like it’s supposed to, the refrigerant level may be lacking due to a leak. Air conditioners use refrigerant to produce cold air, so getting it looked at thoroughly during seasonal maintenance is extremely useful for the longevity of your unit. Without enough refrigerant, the evaporator coils could freeze over and cause the drain pan to overflow as they thaw. Despite some expectations, your AC does not need to be replenished unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only done when a leak happens within 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 has to be changed regularly to ensure 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—sometimes producing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem lasts, further repairs may be necessary. 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 made to provide enough cooling for warm weather. Running 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 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 survives forever. If you use 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 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 help. 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 perform 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 talk about enrolling in a worry-free membership plan. This could help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, promptly so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cooler.

Contact us at 407-329-7661 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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