Is Your Air Conditioning Leaking Water? Here Are 8 Possible Reasons Why

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 collected in a drain pan and routed through piping into your home’s drain system.

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

In most homes, municipal codes demand a secondary or safety drain pan that is put 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 placed above the outside of a window so it’s quickly noticeable if water begins 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 likely evidence the primary drain is blocked and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.

Here are the most common reasons for why your AC is leaking water and how to fix the issue. Some homes will also have a safety device that can automatically shut off your AC should the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling except if the drain is cleared of any obstructions. Regardless, if you spot water leaking, make sure to set your thermostat to "off" to stop any additional water damage and call a McKinley Heating Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently do best with professional support, which is why we’re here to assist you at McKinley Heating 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 chilled metal surface. At the end of the process, the water drains into a pan underneath 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 becomes full.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris might clog the drain. This stops the water from moving away like it’s supposed to. Entrust the unclogging process to an Expert like McKinley Heating Service Experts for the peace of mind it’s performed properly and without causing more damage. Service Experts can also put in a safety device that will quickly turn off your AC if the drain becomes backed up again in the future, thus avoiding water damage in your home. Of course, routine maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clear and unhindered.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While not very common, the drain line connection to the drain pan may become loose or disconnected. This can be the cause if someone is working close to the unit or when changing out the air filter. AC leaks might occur when the drain line is disconnected from the pan. Take a look inside your AC to see if the drain line is still leading to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we recommend calling an HVAC technician to resolve this issue right away. Request an appointment with McKinley Heating Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners require a condensate pump to adequately drain the water. These pumps are required when the home’s drain system is placed above the AC unit. Even if the drain is free of obstructions, water might collect in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is damaged. First, determine that the pump is being powered. If that’s not the root cause, the AC leak might be due to a broken condensate pump. You should contact an air conditioning contractor like McKinley Heating Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Dirty or Cracked

If you see small drips rather than a bigger puddle nearby the outside of your furnace or air handler, water might be dripping off the evaporator coil compared to properly draining into the drain pan and condensate line. This can take place if the coils are dirty, or if holes in the insulation surrounding the coils redirect the water. The easiest approach to keep the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a McKinley Heating Service Experts membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you find a leak and the AC isn't cooling like it’s supposed to, the refrigerant level may be insufficient due to a leak. Air conditioners depend on refrigerant to create cold air, so getting it checked regularly during seasonal maintenance is incredibly useful for the longevity of your unit. Without enough refrigerant, the evaporator coils may 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 happens within the system. Call McKinley Heating Service Experts as soon as you can to repair AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter has to be changed regularly to produce enough airflow. Without adequate ventilation, the evaporator coils could become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to fill in the drain pan—sometimes creating an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem lasts, further repairs may be the best option. Luckily, HVAC technicians from McKinley Heating Service Experts are happy to serve you, ensuring the problem gets solved.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are designed to provide enough cooling for warm weather. Starting your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or colder can cause the evaporator coils to freeze. Once thawed, the water and ice will drop off the evaporator coils and possibly result in an overflow thanks to ice blocking the drain pan opening. If a water leak persists, schedule a McKinley Heating Service Experts technician backed by our 100% service guarantee* to help solve the problem.

8. Damaged Drip Pan

Air conditioners are built to last, but nothing survives forever. If you have an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan might be damaged or corroded after years of normal use. If the drain pan has holes in it, a water leak might appear as condensate seeps directly through it. McKinley Heating Service Experts can replace the drain pan and ensure your AC gets back to working normally.

Our Experts Can Tackle All Your Air Conditioning Repair Needs

Whatever the reason why your AC is leaking water, McKinley Heating Service Experts can fix the problem. 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 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 can help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, sooner so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cooler.

Contact us at 780-800-7092 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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