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

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

Unfortunately, damaged pipes or sludge buildup could cause the piping to become backed up. When this happens, water floods the drain pan inside your furnace or air handler. It can then leak into your home. This is particularly troublesome if your furnace or air handler is installed 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 possesses piping that is routed to the outside of the home. In general, the outlet of the pipe is found above the outside of a window so it’s easily noticeable if water begins draining from this pipe outlet. It is not normal for this to occur. If you see water draining 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 frequent explanations for why your AC is leaking water and how to fix the issue. Some homes will also have a safety device that should automatically shut off your AC if the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling until the drain is cleaned of any obstructions. Regardless, if you notice water leaking, make sure to set your thermostat to "off" to stop any further water damage and contact a BW/Cook Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently demand professional servicing, which is why we’re here to assist you at BW/Cook 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 runs along the evaporator coil, water appears on the chilly metal surface. In the end, the water drains into a pan underneath 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 fills up.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris can clog the drain. This keeps the water from draining away correctly. Trust the unclogging process to an Expert like BW/Cook Service Experts for the peace of mind it’s completed properly and without causing further damage. Service Experts can also add a safety device that will automatically switch off your AC if the drain becomes blocked again sometime after, thus avoiding water damage in your home. Of course, routine maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clear and open.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While somewhat rare, the drain line connection to the drain pan may become loose or disconnected. This can occur if someone is working nearby the unit or when replacing the air filter. AC leaks may occur when the drain line is disconnected from the pan. Check your AC to find out if the drain line is still fully connected to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we encourage calling an HVAC technician to take care of this issue right away. Arrange an appointment with BW/Cook Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners need a condensate pump to properly drain the water. These pumps are needed when the home’s drain system is placed above the AC unit. Even if the drain is free of obstructions, water could back up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is inoperable. First, determine that the pump is being powered. If that’s not the root cause, the AC leak may be due to a broken condensate pump. You should call an air conditioning contractor like BW/Cook Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grubby or Damaged

If you see small drips in lieu of a larger puddle close to the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be bouncing off the evaporator coil rather than properly flowing 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 smartest approach to stop the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a BW/Cook Service Experts membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you notice a leak and the AC isn't cooling well, the refrigerant level may be insufficient because of a leak. Air conditioners count on refrigerant to create cold air, so getting it looked at consistently during seasonal maintenance is highly useful for the working condition of your unit. Without adequate 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 recharged unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only required when a leak happens within the system. Call BW/Cook Service Experts as soon as you can to repair AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter needs to be changed regularly to ensure enough airflow. Without adequate ventilation, the evaporator coils can become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to accumulate in the drain pan—sometimes causing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem sticks around, further repairs might be needed. Luckily, HVAC technicians from BW/Cook Service Experts are ready to serve you, ensuring the problem gets solved.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are made to be used during warm weather. Using your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below may 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 BW/Cook 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 lasts forever. If you possess 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. BW/Cook 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, BW/Cook Service Experts can repair the damage. We’ll troubleshoot and fix your air conditioner, getting it back to running again as soon as possible.

Our technicians are thoroughly 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 may help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, promptly so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house comfortable.

Contact us at 574-218-6404 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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