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

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 typically sent to a drain pan and moved through piping into your home’s drain system.

A byproduct of this process, damaged pipes or sludge buildup may cause the piping to become clogged. When this happens, water backs up in the drain pan in your furnace or air handler. It can then reach your home. This is namely troublesome if your furnace or air handler is located in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In the bulk of homes, building codes necessitate a secondary or safety drain pan that is installed 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 located above the outside of a window so it’s easily noticeable if water starts draining from this pipe outlet. It is not normal for this to occur. If you see water dripping 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 will also have a safety device that should automatically shut 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, make sure to set your thermostat to "off" to stop any other water damage and call a McElroy Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners routinely require professional support, which is why we’re here to assist you at McElroy 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 moves over the evaporator coil, water forms on the chilled metal surface. In the end, the water drains into a pan beneath 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 overflows.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris could clog the drain. This prevents the water from draining away correctly. Leave the unclogging process to an Expert like McElroy Service Experts to make sure it’s completed properly and without causing more damage. Service Experts can also put in a safety device that will autonomously switch off your AC just in case the drain becomes backed up again later on, thus avoiding water damage within your home. Of course, consistent maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain flushed and unhampered.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While somewhat rare, the drain line connection to the drain pan may become loose or disconnected. This will sometimes happen if someone is working around the unit or when changing out the air filter. AC leaks can occur when the drain line disconnects from the pan. Take a look inside your AC to determine 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 right away. Request an appointment with McElroy Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners need a condensate pump to efficiently drain the water. These pumps are required when the home’s drain system is put above the AC unit. Even if the drain is clear, water might collect in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is broken. First, make sure that the pump is being powered. If that’s not the problem, the AC leak may be due to a broken condensate pump. You should call an air conditioning contractor like McElroy Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Dirty or Cracked

If you see tiny drips instead of a bigger puddle nearby the outside of your furnace or air handler, water might be bouncing off the evaporator coil instead of properly draining 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 prevent the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a McElroy Service Experts membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you uncover a leak and the AC isn't cooling well, the refrigerant level may be lacking because of a leak. Air conditioners require refrigerant to create cold air, so getting it looked at thoroughly during seasonal maintenance is incredibly important for the life span 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 recharged unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only needed when a leak happens within the system. Call McElroy Service Experts as soon as possible to take care of AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter has to 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 fill in the drain pan—sometimes creating an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem remains, more repairs may be required. Thankfully, HVAC technicians from McElroy 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 be used during warm weather. Starting your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower will sometimes 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 McElroy 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 use 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 may appear as condensate seeps directly through it. McElroy 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, McElroy 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 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 could help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, promptly so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house comfortable.

Contact us at 308-210-4398 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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