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

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 creates condensate, or water, in your furnace or air handler. This water is normally sent to a drain pan and sent through piping into your home’s drain system.

Unfortunately, a malfunction or sludge buildup can cause the piping to become blocked. When this happens, water returns to the drain pan in your furnace or air handler. It can then spill into your home. This is especially troublesome if your furnace or air handler is located 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 routed 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 draining 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 causes for why your AC is leaking water and how to take care of the issue. Some homes can also possess 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 notice water leaking, be sure to set your thermostat to “off” to stop any further water damage and reach out to a Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently demand professional repairs, which is why we’re here to assist you at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We consistently 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 collects on the chilly metal surface. Ultimately, the water drains into a pan under 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 stops the water from flowing away properly. Entrust the unclogging process to an Expert like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing to make sure it’s performed properly and without causing additional damage. Service Experts can also add a safety device that will automatically turn off your AC if the drain becomes blocked again in the future, thus preventing water damage inside 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 may become loose or disconnected. This may be the cause if someone is working around the unit or when changing out the air filter. AC leaks might occur when the drain line is disconnected from the pan. Inspect your AC to see if the drain line is still leading to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we encourage calling an HVAC technician to resolve this issue right away. Arrange an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners need a condensate pump to efficiently drain the water. These pumps are necessary when the home’s drain system is placed 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 faulty. First, double-check that the pump is still powered. If that’s not the problem, the AC leak could be due to a broken condensate pump. You should check with an air conditioning contractor like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Dirty or Cracked

If you see small drips instead of a bigger puddle close to the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be bouncing off the evaporator coil rather than 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 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 & Plumbing 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 use refrigerant to produce cold air, so getting it inspected consistently during seasonal maintenance is incredibly beneficial for the life span of your unit. Without enough refrigerant, the evaporator coils could 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 necessary when a leak happens in the system. Call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing immediately to take care of 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 could become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to accumulate in the drain pan—potentially causing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem lasts, further repairs may be necessary. Fortunately, HVAC technicians from Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing are here 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. Using 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 potentially create an overflow due to ice blocking the drain pan opening. If a water leak persists, schedule a Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing technician backed by our 100% service guarantee* to help solve the problem.

8. Damaged Drip Pan

Air conditioners are made to last, but nothing survives forever. If you use an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan could 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 & Plumbing 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 & Plumbing can repair the damage. 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 perform exemplary 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 recommend a worry-free membership plan. This may help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, more quickly so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cool.

Contact us at to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!