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

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

Unfortunately, faulty components or sludge buildup may cause the piping to become blocked. When this happens, water backs up in the drain pan inside your furnace or air handler. It can then reach your home. This is particularly troublesome if your furnace or air handler is placed in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In most homes, building 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 placed above the outside of a window so it’s quickly 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 often a sign 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 repair the issue. Some homes could also possess a safety device that will automatically switch off your AC if the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling unless the drain is cleared of any obstructions. Regardless, if you notice water leaking, make sure to set your thermostat to "off" to stop any additional water damage and contact a Chief/Bauer Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners often demand professional support, which is why we’re here to assist you at Chief/Bauer 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 appears on the chilled metal surface. At the end of the process, the water drains into a pan beneath the indoor coil inside 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 can clog the drain. This prevents the water from flowing away properly. Leave the unclogging process to an Expert like Chief/Bauer Service Experts to guarantee it’s handled properly and without causing more damage. Service Experts can also install a safety device that will autonomously switch off your AC if the drain becomes blocked again in the future, thus minimizing water damage inside your home. Of course, routine maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clear and unobstructed.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While unusual, the drain line connection to the drain pan can become loose or disconnected. This will sometimes be the cause 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. Check 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 Chief/Bauer Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners use a condensate pump to efficiently drain the water. These pumps are necessary when the home’s drain system is located above the AC unit. Even if the drain is clear, water can build up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is malfunctioning. First, double-check that the pump is being powered. If that’s not the problem, the AC leak might be due to a broken condensate pump. You should call an air conditioning contractor like Chief/Bauer Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Dirty or Broken

If you see small drips instead of a bigger puddle near the outside of your furnace or air handler, water could be splashing off the evaporator coil instead of properly draining into the drain pan and condensate line. This can happen if the coils are dirty, or if holes in the insulation protecting 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 Chief/Bauer Service Experts membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you discover a leak and the AC isn't cooling properly, the refrigerant level may be lacking because of a leak. Air conditioners depend on refrigerant to generate cold air, so getting it looked at thoroughly during seasonal maintenance is highly important for the longevity of your unit. Without enough refrigerant, the evaporator coils can freeze over and cause the drain pan to overflow as they thaw. Despite some expectations, your AC does not need to be refilled unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only required when a leak happens in the system. Call Chief/Bauer Service Experts immediately to resolve AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter needs to be changed regularly to encourage enough airflow. Without adequate ventilation, the evaporator coils can become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to collect in the drain pan—sometimes causing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem remains, additional repairs will sometimes be needed. Thankfully, HVAC technicians from Chief/Bauer Service Experts are willing and able 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. Starting your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or colder will sometimes 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 Chief/Bauer 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 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. Chief/Bauer Service Experts can replace the drain pan and ensure your AC gets back to working like it’s supposed to.

Our Experts Can Meet All Your Air Conditioning Repair Needs

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

Our technicians are well trained, knowledgeable and certified to complete 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 will sometimes help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, sooner so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house comfortable.

Contact us at 217-689-2469 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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