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

A byproduct of this process, damaged pipes or sludge buildup may cause the piping to become blocked. When this happens, water returns to the drain pan inside your furnace or air handler. It can then reach your home. This is especially troublesome if your furnace or air handler is kept in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In a majority of homes, municipal codes necessitate a secondary or safety drain pan that is located underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan uses piping that is routed 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 a sign the primary drain is backed up and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.

Here are the most general explanations for why your AC is leaking water and how to repair the issue. Some homes could also use a safety device that will automatically shut off your AC in the event the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling except if the drain is free of any obstructions. Regardless, if you find water leaking, make sure to set your thermostat to "off" to prevent any additional water damage and contact a Fras-Air/General Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently demand professional servicing, which is why we’re here to assist you at Fras-Air/General Service Experts. 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 chilly metal surface. In the end, the water drains into a pan underneath 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 could clog the drain. This keeps the water from draining away correctly. Entrust the unclogging process to an Expert like Fras-Air/General Service Experts to make sure it’s completed properly and without causing more damage. Service Experts can also add a safety device that will quickly shut off your AC in the event the drain becomes backed up again in the future, thus minimizing 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 uncommon, the drain line connection to the drain pan could become loose or disconnected. This can 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 breaks free from the pan. Check your AC to determine 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 take care of this issue right away. Arrange an appointment with Fras-Air/General Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners use a condensate pump to efficiently drain the water. These pumps are required when the home’s drain system is placed above the AC unit. Even if the drain is unobstructed, water could collect in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is malfunctioning. First, make sure that the pump is being powered. If that’s not the root cause, the AC leak may be due to a broken condensate pump. You should call an air conditioning contractor like Fras-Air/General Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grimy or Broken

If you see little drips in favor of a larger puddle close to the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be bouncing off the evaporator coil instead of properly draining 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 smart approach to stop the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a Fras-Air/General Service Experts membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you discover a leak and the AC isn't cooling well, the refrigerant level may be lacking because of a leak. Air conditioners use refrigerant to produce cold air, so getting it checked consistently during seasonal maintenance is highly useful for the working condition of your unit. Without enough 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 refilled unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only needed when a leak appears within the system. Call Fras-Air/General Service Experts as soon as possible to repair AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter should be changed regularly to encourage proper airflow. Without adequate ventilation, the evaporator coils may become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to accumulate in the drain pan—potentially producing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem sticks around, additional repairs will sometimes be needed. Luckily, HVAC technicians from Fras-Air/General Service Experts are happy to serve you, ensuring the problem gets fixed.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are built to provide enough cooling for warm weather. Running your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below will sometimes cause the evaporator coils to freeze. Once thawed, the water and ice will drop off the evaporator coils and may lead to an overflow because of ice blocking the drain pan opening. If a water leak persists, schedule a Fras-Air/General Service Experts 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 have 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. Fras-Air/General Service Experts 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, Fras-Air/General Service Experts can help. We’ll troubleshoot and fix your air conditioner, getting it back to running again without delay.

Our technicians are well trained, knowledgeable and certified to complete 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, more quickly so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cooler.

Contact us at 908-448-2154 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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