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

A byproduct of this process, a malfunction or sludge buildup could cause the piping to become backed up. When this happens, water floods the drain pan inside your furnace or air handler. It can then spill into your home. This is decidedly troublesome if your furnace or air handler is up in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In most homes, local 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 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 draining from piping on the outside of your home, this is often an indication the primary drain is blocked 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 resolve the issue. Some homes will also use a safety device that can automatically switch off your AC should the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling unless the drain is cleared of any obstructions. Regardless, if you find water leaking, ensure you set your thermostat to "off" to prevent any additional water damage and call a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently need professional repairs, 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 moves over the evaporator coil, water appears on the chilly metal surface. At the end of the process, the water drains into a pan under the indoor coil within the furnace or air handler. As the cooling sequence occurs, 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. Leave the unclogging process to an Expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for the peace of mind it’s completed properly and without causing more damage. Service Experts can also install a safety device that will autonomously turn off your AC just in case the drain becomes backed up again later on, thus minimizing water damage in your home. Of course, routine maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clear and unobstructed.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While not very common, the drain line connection to the drain pan may become loose or disconnected. This can occur if someone is working around the unit or when swapping out the air filter. AC leaks can occur when the drain line disconnects from the pan. Take a look inside your AC to find out if the drain line is still connected to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we recommend calling an HVAC technician to repair this issue immediately. Arrange an appointment with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners rely on a condensate pump to adequately drain the water. These pumps are required when the home’s drain system is found above the AC unit. Even if the drain is clear, water could 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 case, the AC leak may 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 Dirty or Broken

If you see little drips in lieu of a larger puddle near the outside of your furnace or air handler, water might be splashing off the evaporator coil instead of 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 around the coils redirect the water. The easiest approach to prevent 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 discover a leak and the AC isn't cooling like it’s supposed to, the refrigerant level may be insufficient because of a leak. Air conditioners depend on refrigerant to create cold air, so getting it looked at thoroughly during seasonal maintenance is incredibly useful for the life span of your unit. Without a full supply of refrigerant, the evaporator coils can freeze over and cause the drain pan to overflow as they thaw. Despite some expectations, your AC does not need to be replenished unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only done when a leak appears inside the system. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning as soon as you can to take care of AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter should be changed regularly to encourage enough 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—sometimes causing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem sticks around, additional repairs will sometimes be the best option. Fortunately, HVAC technicians from Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to serve you, ensuring the problem gets resolved.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are designed to run during warm weather. Using your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or colder will sometimes cause the evaporator coils to freeze. Once thawed, the water and ice will drop off the evaporator coils and possibly result in 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 manufactured to last, but nothing lasts forever. If you own an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan may be damaged or corroded due to normal use. If the drain pan has holes in it, a water leak may 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 Meet All Your Air Conditioning Repair Needs

Whatever the reason why your AC is leaking water, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can solve the issue. 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 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 suggest a worry-free membership plan. This can help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, more quickly so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house comfortable.

Contact us at 614-334-3192 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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