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

An air conditioner (AC) keeps your house cool and comfortable by removing 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 usually kept in a drain pan and transported through piping into your home’s drain system.

Unfortunately, an error or sludge buildup could cause the piping to become blocked. When this happens, water returns to the drain pan within your furnace or air handler. It can then spill into your home. This is especially troublesome if your furnace or air handler is up in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In the bulk of homes, building codes necessitate a secondary or safety drain pan that is found underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan uses piping that is routed 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 spilling from piping on the outside of your home, this is likely 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 can also possess a safety device that should automatically switch 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 notice water leaking, ensure you set your thermostat to "off" to avoid any additional water damage and reach out to a Coastal Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners routinely demand professional servicing, which is why we’re here to assist you at Coastal Service Experts. 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 condenses on the chilled metal surface. In the end, the water drains into a pan beneath the indoor coil within the furnace or air handler. As the cooling sequence continues, 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 prevents the water from draining away like it’s supposed to. Entrust the unclogging process to an Expert like Coastal Service Experts for the peace of mind it’s completed properly and without causing additional damage. Service Experts can also install a safety device that will autonomously turn off your AC if the drain becomes backed up again sometime after, thus preventing water damage in your home. Of course, routine maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain flushed and open.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While uncommon, the drain line connection to the drain pan may become loose or disconnected. This can occur if someone is working close to the unit or when swapping out the air filter. AC leaks can occur when the drain line is lose from the pan. Inspect your AC to see if the drain line is still attached to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we encourage calling an HVAC technician to take care of this issue immediately. Request an appointment with Coastal Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners use a condensate pump to properly drain the water. These pumps are needed when the home’s drain system is found above the AC unit. Even if the drain is unobstructed, water could 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 contact an air conditioning contractor like Coastal Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grimy or Broken

If you see little drips instead of a more substantial puddle nearby the outside of your furnace or air handler, water could be dripping off the evaporator coil instead of properly moving into the drain pan and condensate line. This can be the case if the coils are dirty, or if holes in the insulation around the coils redirect the water. The smartest approach to keep the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a Coastal Service Experts membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you uncover a leak and the AC isn't cooling well, the refrigerant level may be insufficient thanks to a leak. Air conditioners depend on refrigerant to generate cold air, so getting it checked regularly during seasonal maintenance is extremely beneficial for the health 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. Opposite of some expectations, your AC does not need to be recharged unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only needed when a leak occurs within the system. Call Coastal Service Experts right away to resolve AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter needs to be changed regularly to encourage adequate 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 creating an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem persists, more repairs might be needed. Thankfully, HVAC technicians from Coastal Service Experts are here to serve you, ensuring the problem gets resolved.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are built to provide enough cooling for warm weather. Using your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below 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 due to ice blocking the drain pan opening. If a water leak persists, schedule a Coastal 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 own an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan may be damaged or corroded after years of normal use. If the drain pan has holes in it, a water leak can appear as condensate seeps directly through it. Coastal Service Experts can replace the drain pan and ensure your AC gets back to working like it’s supposed to.

Our Experts Can Tackle All Your Air Conditioning Repair Needs

Whatever the reason why your AC is leaking water, Coastal Service Experts can solve the issue. We’ll troubleshoot and fix your air conditioner, getting it back to running again without delay.

Our technicians are thoroughly trained, knowledgeable and certified to perform exceptional 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 may help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, faster so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cooler.

Contact us at 912-208-2399 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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