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 kept in a drain pan and sent through piping into your home’s drain system.

Unfortunately, an error or sludge buildup could cause the piping to become backed up. When this happens, water floods the drain pan in your furnace or air handler. It can then reach your home. This is decidedly troublesome if your furnace or air handler is up 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 uses piping that is sent to the outside of the home. In general, the outlet of the pipe is placed above the outside of a window so it’s more noticeable if water starts draining from this pipe outlet. It is not normal for this to occur. If you see water leaking from piping on the outside of your home, this is likely evidence 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 take care of the issue. Some homes may also use a safety device that should automatically shut off your AC in the event the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling unless the drain is cleaned of any obstructions. Regardless, if you discover water leaking, be sure to set your thermostat to "off" to minimize anymore water damage and call a Stevenson Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners often demand professional help, which is why we’re here to assist you at Stevenson Service Experts. 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 reaches the evaporator coil, water forms 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 takes place, the condensate flows out of the pan and into drain piping before the pan overflows.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris can clog the drain. This stops the water from flowing away properly. Trust the unclogging process to an Expert like Stevenson Service Experts for the peace of mind it’s completed properly and without causing more damage. Service Experts can also put in a safety device that will automatically turn off your AC if the drain becomes backed up again sometime after, thus avoiding water damage inside your home. Of course, routine maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clean and open.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While somewhat rare, the drain line connection to the drain pan can become loose or disconnected. This may occur if someone is working near the unit or when swapping out 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 repair this issue immediately. Schedule an appointment with Stevenson Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners need a condensate pump to properly drain the water. These pumps are compulsory when the home’s drain system is found above the AC unit. Even if the drain is clear, water might build up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is inoperable. First, make sure that the pump is being powered. If that’s not the case, the AC leak could be due to a broken condensate pump. You should call an air conditioning contractor like Stevenson Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grubby or Broken

If you see tiny drips instead of a more substantial puddle around the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be splashing off the evaporator coil rather than properly moving into the drain pan and condensate line. This can happen if the coils are soiled, or if holes in the insulation around the coils redirect the water. The smartest approach to stop the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a Stevenson Service Experts 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 generate cold air, so getting it checked thoroughly during seasonal maintenance is incredibly beneficial for the longevity of your unit. Without adequate refrigerant, the evaporator coils can freeze over and cause the drain pan to overflow as they thaw. Contrary to 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 Stevenson Service Experts immediately to take care of AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter should be changed regularly to ensure adequate airflow. Without adequate ventilation, the evaporator coils may become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to fill in the drain pan—sometimes producing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem doesn’t go away, more repairs might be the best option. Fortunately, HVAC technicians from Stevenson Service Experts are here to serve you, ensuring the problem gets solved.

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 lower will sometimes cause the evaporator coils to freeze. Once thawed, the water and ice will drop off the evaporator coils and potentially create an overflow because of ice blocking the drain pan opening. If a water leak persists, schedule a Stevenson Service Experts technician backed by our 100% service guarantee* to help solve the problem.

8. Damaged Drip Pan

Air conditioners are made to last, but nothing lasts forever. If you possess an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan might 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. Stevenson Service Experts 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, Stevenson Service Experts can repair the damage. We’ll troubleshoot and fix your air conditioner, getting it back to running again right away.

Our technicians are thoroughly trained, knowledgeable and certified to provide 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 will sometimes help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, more quickly so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house comfortable.

Contact us at 937-503-7896 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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