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

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 creates 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.

A byproduct of this process, damaged pipes or sludge buildup can cause the piping to become clogged. When this happens, water floods 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 kept in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In a majority of homes, local codes require a secondary or safety drain pan that is put underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan possesses 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 starts 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 usually an indication the primary drain is blocked 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 take care of the issue. Some homes can also use a safety device that can automatically turn off your AC if the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling except if the drain is cleaned of any obstructions. Regardless, if you discover water leaking, make sure to set your thermostat to "off" to stop any additional water damage and contact a Strogen's Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners routinely require professional help, which is why we’re here to assist you at Strogen's 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 runs along the evaporator coil, water collects on the chilled metal surface. At the end of the process, the water drains into a pan under the indoor coil in 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 might clog the drain. This keeps the water from flowing away like it’s supposed to. Trust the unclogging process to an Expert like Strogen's Service Experts for the peace of mind it’s handled properly and without causing further damage. Service Experts can also put in a safety device that will quickly turn off your AC in the event the drain becomes backed up again later on, thus minimizing water damage in your home. Of course, regular maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain flushed and open.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While somewhat rare, the drain line connection to the drain pan may become loose or disconnected. This may happen if someone is working close to the unit or when changing out the air filter. AC leaks can occur when the drain line is disconnected from the pan. Inspect your AC to find out 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 repair this issue as soon as possible. Make an appointment with Strogen's Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners use a condensate pump to properly drain the water. These pumps are necessary when the home’s drain system is found above the AC unit. Even if the drain is clear, water may build up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is broken. First, make sure that the pump is currently 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 Strogen's Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grimy or Damaged

If you see small drips instead of a bigger puddle close to the outside of your furnace or air handler, water could be dripping off the evaporator coil compared to properly flowing into the drain pan and condensate line. This can happen if the coils are soiled, or if holes in the insulation surrounding 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 Strogen's Service Experts 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 lacking due to a leak. Air conditioners need refrigerant to generate cold air, so getting it looked at consistently during seasonal maintenance is extremely beneficial for the working condition of your unit. Without adequate refrigerant, the evaporator coils might 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 occurs inside the system. Call Strogen's Service Experts as soon as you can to resolve AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter needs to be changed regularly to encourage proper 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—sometimes producing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem doesn’t go away, more repairs may be required. Thankfully, HVAC technicians from Strogen's Service Experts are ready 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. Running 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 may lead to an overflow due to ice blocking the drain pan opening. If a water leak persists, schedule a Strogen's Service Experts technician backed by our 100% service guarantee* to help solve the problem.

8. Damaged Drip Pan

Air conditioners are made to last, but nothing lives forever. If you have an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan might 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. Strogen's Service Experts can replace the drain pan and ensure your AC gets back to working normally.

Our Experts Can Handle All Your Air Conditioning Repair Needs

Whatever the reason why your AC is leaking water, Strogen's Service Experts can repair the damage. 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 suggest a worry-free membership plan. This will sometimes help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, sooner so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cool.

Contact us at 603-923-4570 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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