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

A byproduct of this process, damaged pipes or sludge buildup can cause the piping to become blocked. When this happens, water returns to the drain pan within your furnace or air handler. It can then leak into your home. This is namely troublesome if your furnace or air handler is placed in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In most homes, local codes require a secondary or safety drain pan that is put underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan uses piping that is sent to the outside of the home. Usually, the outlet of the pipe is found above the outside of a window so it’s more 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 often a sign the primary drain is clogged 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 will also have a safety device that will 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 cleaned of any obstructions. Regardless, if you discover water leaking, ensure you set your thermostat to "off" to avoid any additional water damage and call a Neal Harris Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently demand professional help, which is why we’re here to assist you at Neal Harris Service Experts. We proudly 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 forms on the chilled metal surface. Ultimately, the water drains into a pan under the indoor coil within 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 overflows.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris can clog the drain. This stops the water from moving away like it’s supposed to. Entrust the unclogging process to an Expert like Neal Harris Service Experts to guarantee it’s done properly and without causing additional damage. Service Experts can also put in a safety device that will quickly switch off your AC just in case the drain becomes backed up again in the future, thus preventing water damage within your home. Of course, scheduling maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clean and open.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While not very common, the drain line connection to the drain pan could become loose or disconnected. This can happen if someone is working near the unit or when replacing the air filter. AC leaks may occur when the drain line is lose from the pan. Take a look inside your AC to determine 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 resolve this issue right away. Request an appointment with Neal Harris Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners rely on 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 clear, water can back up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is faulty. First, determine that the pump is still powered. If that’s not the root cause, the AC leak could be due to a broken condensate pump. You should call an air conditioning contractor like Neal Harris Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grubby or Cracked

If you see tiny drips instead of a larger puddle near the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be splashing 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 best approach to prevent the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a Neal Harris Service Experts membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you notice a leak and the AC isn't cooling enough, the refrigerant level may be insufficient because of a leak. Air conditioners need refrigerant to produce cold air, so getting it looked at consistently during seasonal maintenance is extremely beneficial 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. Opposite of some expectations, your AC does not need to be replenished unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only needed when a leak occurs within the system. Call Neal Harris 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 may become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to fill in the drain pan—potentially causing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem sticks around, further repairs will sometimes be required. Thankfully, HVAC technicians from Neal Harris 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 can cause the evaporator coils to freeze. Once thawed, the water and ice will drop off the evaporator coils and potentially create an overflow thanks to ice blocking the drain pan opening. If a water leak persists, schedule a Neal Harris 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 lives forever. If you have an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan might 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. Neal Harris 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, Neal Harris 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 exemplary 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 will sometimes help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, faster so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cool.

Contact us at 816-787-0500 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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