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

An air conditioner (AC) keeps your house cool and comfortable by pulling 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 sent to a drain pan and transported through piping into your home’s drain system.

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

In the bulk of homes, municipal codes require a secondary or safety drain pan that is put underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan has piping that is directed 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 more noticeable if water begins 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 usually a sign the primary drain is backed up and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.

Here are the most frequent explanations for why your AC is leaking water and how to repair the issue. Some homes will also have a safety device that can automatically shut off your AC in the event the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling until the drain is cleared of any obstructions. Regardless, if you find water leaking, make sure to set your thermostat to "off" to avoid any other water damage and contact 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 reaches the evaporator coil, water forms on the cold metal surface. Ultimately, the water drains into a pan beneath the indoor coil within 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 stops the water from moving away like it’s supposed to. Entrust the unclogging process to an Expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to guarantee it’s done properly and without causing more damage. Service Experts can also add a safety device that will autonomously switch off your AC if the drain becomes blocked again in the future, thus minimizing 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 unusual, the drain line connection to the drain pan may become loose or disconnected. This may happen if someone is working near the unit or when replacing the air filter. AC leaks can occur when the drain line breaks free from the pan. Check 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 suggest calling an HVAC technician to take care of 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 need a condensate pump to adequately drain the water. These pumps are necessary when the home’s drain system is located above the AC unit. Even if the drain is unobstructed, water might back up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is inoperable. First, double-check that the pump is currently powered. If that’s not the problem, 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 Damaged

If you see small drips rather than a larger puddle around the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be dripping off the evaporator coil rather than properly moving into the drain pan and condensate line. This can happen if the coils are grimy, or if holes in the insulation protecting 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 notice 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 count on refrigerant to create cold air, so getting it looked at thoroughly during seasonal maintenance is incredibly 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. Contrary to 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 within the system. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning as soon as possible to take care of AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter should be changed regularly to ensure enough airflow. Without adequate ventilation, the evaporator coils could become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to collect in the drain pan—potentially creating an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem sticks around, more repairs may be necessary. Luckily, HVAC technicians from Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to serve you, ensuring the problem gets fixed.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are made to be used during warm weather. Running your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower could 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 manufactured to last, but nothing lasts 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 might 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 repair the damage. We’ll troubleshoot and fix your air conditioner, getting it back to running again right away.

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 talk about enrolling in a worry-free membership plan. This could help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, more quickly so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cooler.

Contact us at 901-235-1196 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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