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

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 collected in a drain pan and moved through piping into your home’s drain system.

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

In the bulk of homes, municipal codes necessitate 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. Most of the time, 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 likely evidence the primary drain is clogged and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.

Here are the most common causes for why your AC is leaking water and how to fix the issue. Some homes may also have a safety device that can automatically turn 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 see water leaking, be sure to set your thermostat to "off" to prevent anymore water damage and contact a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently require 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 chilly 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 continues, the condensate flows out of the pan and into drain piping before the pan fills up.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris can clog the drain. This prevents the water from flowing away correctly. Trust the unclogging process to an Expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to make sure it’s completed properly and without causing further damage. Service Experts can also put in a safety device that will autonomously turn off your AC if the drain becomes clogged again sometime after, thus avoiding water damage within your home. Of course, regular maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain flushed and unhampered.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While somewhat rare, the drain line connection to the drain pan can become loose or disconnected. This will sometimes occur if someone is working nearby the unit or when replacing the air filter. AC leaks can occur when the drain line disconnects 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 resolve 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 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 free of obstructions, water can back up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is inoperable. First, determine 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 contact an air conditioning contractor like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grubby or Damaged

If you see tiny drips in lieu of a more substantial puddle near the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be dripping off the evaporator coil compared to 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 surrounding the coils redirect the water. The easiest 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 find a leak and the AC isn't cooling enough, the refrigerant level may be low thanks to a leak. Air conditioners count on refrigerant to generate cold air, so getting it looked at consistently during seasonal maintenance is highly beneficial for the life span of your unit. Without a full supply of 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 recharged unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only needed when a leak happens within the system. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning immediately to resolve AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter should be changed regularly to encourage adequate 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 creating an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem remains, further repairs may be necessary. Luckily, HVAC technicians from Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are happy to serve you, ensuring the problem gets resolved.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are built to provide enough cooling for 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 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 designed to last, but nothing lives 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 can 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 normally.

Our Experts Can Meet 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 highly trained, knowledgeable and certified to complete 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 may help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, faster so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cool.

Contact us at 352-414-4006 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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