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 produces condensate, or water, in your furnace or air handler. This water is normally collected in a drain pan and transported through piping into your home’s drain system.

As a side effect, damaged pipes or sludge buildup can cause the piping to become clogged. 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 placed in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In the bulk of homes, building codes require a secondary or safety drain pan that is found underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan uses piping that is sent to the outside of the home. Most of the time, the outlet of the pipe is placed above the outside of a window so it’s more noticeable if water begins 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 likely a sign the primary drain is clogged and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.

Here are the most general reasons for why your AC is leaking water and how to resolve the issue. Some homes will also possess a safety device that can 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 see water leaking, ensure you set your thermostat to "off" to avoid any additional water damage and contact a Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently do best with professional help, which is why we’re here to assist you at Bryant Heating & Cooling 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 moves over the evaporator coil, water forms on the chilly metal surface. At the end of the process, the water drains into a pan beneath the indoor coil in the furnace or air handler. As the cooling sequence takes place, the condensate flows out of the pan and into drain piping before the pan fills up.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris could clog the drain. This prevents the water from moving away correctly. Leave the unclogging process to an Expert like Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts to guarantee it’s performed properly and without causing further damage. Service Experts can also put in a safety device that will quickly switch off your AC in the event the drain becomes backed up again sometime after, thus minimizing water damage within your home. Of course, regular 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 could become loose or disconnected. This can occur if someone is working near the unit or when swapping out the air filter. AC leaks can occur when the drain line breaks free 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 suggest calling an HVAC technician to repair this issue immediately. Schedule an appointment with Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners need a condensate pump to adequately drain the water. These pumps are needed when the home’s drain system is put 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 malfunctioning. First, double-check that the pump is still powered. If that’s not the root cause, the AC leak might be due to a broken condensate pump. You should call an air conditioning contractor like Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grubby or Cracked

If you see little drips instead of a more substantial puddle around the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be splashing off the evaporator coil rather than 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 surrounding the coils redirect the water. The best approach to keep the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you discover a leak and the AC isn't cooling enough, the refrigerant level may be lacking due to a leak. Air conditioners use refrigerant to create cold air, so getting it inspected thoroughly during seasonal maintenance is highly important for the longevity of your unit. Without a full supply of refrigerant, the evaporator coils could 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 done when a leak appears in the system. Call Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts as soon as you can to repair AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter should be changed regularly to produce proper airflow. Without adequate ventilation, the evaporator coils could become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to collect in the drain pan—possibly starting an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem persists, more repairs might be the best option. Fortunately, HVAC technicians from Bryant Heating & Cooling 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 possibly result in an overflow because of ice blocking the drain pan opening. If a water leak persists, schedule a Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts technician backed by our 100% service guarantee* to help solve the problem.

8. Damaged Drip Pan

Air conditioners are manufactured to last, but nothing survives forever. If you use 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. Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts can replace the drain pan and ensure your AC gets back to working normally.

Our Experts Can Meet All Your Air Conditioning Repair Needs

Whatever the reason why your AC is leaking water, Bryant Heating & Cooling 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 recommend a worry-free membership plan. This can help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, promptly so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cool.

Contact us at 226-773-3357 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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