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 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.

Unfortunately, an error or sludge buildup may cause the piping to become blocked. When this happens, water floods the drain pan within your furnace or air handler. It can then leak into your home. This is especially troublesome if your furnace or air handler is installed in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In a majority of homes, local codes demand a secondary or safety drain pan that is found underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan has piping that is routed to the outside of the home. Typically, the outlet of the pipe is located 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 spilling from piping on the outside of your home, this is usually an indication 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 may also use a safety device that should automatically turn off your AC should the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling except if the drain is cleared of any obstructions. Regardless, if you find water leaking, make sure to set your thermostat to "off" to minimize any additional water damage and call a Donelson Air Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners often require professional support, which is why we’re here to assist you at Donelson Air 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 reaches the evaporator coil, water collects on the chilled metal surface. In the end, the water drains into a pan underneath 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 might clog the drain. This stops the water from flowing away correctly. Entrust the unclogging process to an Expert like Donelson Air Service Experts for the peace of mind it’s performed properly and without causing more damage. Service Experts can also put in a safety device that will autonomously shut off your AC in the event the drain becomes backed up again later on, thus minimizing water damage in your home. Of course, routine maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain flushed and unobstructed.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While uncommon, the drain line connection to the drain pan could become loose or disconnected. This can be the cause if someone is working close to the unit or when swapping out the air filter. AC leaks may occur when the drain line is disconnected from the pan. Take a look inside your AC to see if the drain line is still fully connected to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we recommend calling an HVAC technician to repair this issue as soon as possible. Request an appointment with Donelson Air Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners rely on a condensate pump to efficiently 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 broken. First, determine that the pump is still powered. If that’s not the case, the AC leak could be due to a broken condensate pump. You should call an air conditioning contractor like Donelson Air Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grimy or Cracked

If you see tiny drips rather than a bigger puddle around the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be splashing off the evaporator coil compared to properly draining into the drain pan and condensate line. This can occur if the coils are grimy, or if holes in the insulation around the coils redirect the water. The easiest approach to prevent the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a Donelson Air Service Experts membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you notice a leak and the AC isn't cooling enough, the refrigerant level may be low because of a leak. Air conditioners require refrigerant to generate cold air, so getting it inspected regularly during seasonal maintenance is extremely beneficial for the longevity of your unit. Without adequate refrigerant, the evaporator coils can freeze over and cause the drain pan to overflow as they thaw. Contrary to some expectations, your AC does not need to be refilled unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only necessary when a leak happens within the system. Call Donelson Air 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 produce adequate 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—possibly creating an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem doesn’t go away, more repairs might be necessary. Fortunately, HVAC technicians from Donelson Air Service Experts are happy to serve you, ensuring the problem gets fixed.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are built to run during warm weather. Starting your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower could cause the evaporator coils to freeze. Once thawed, the water and ice will drop off the evaporator coils and may lead to an overflow thanks to ice blocking the drain pan opening. If a water leak persists, schedule a Donelson Air 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 lives forever. If you possess an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan could be damaged or corroded after years of normal use. If the drain pan has holes in it, a water leak can appear as condensate seeps directly through it. Donelson Air Service Experts can replace the drain pan and ensure your AC gets back to working like it’s supposed to.

Our Experts Can Handle All Your Air Conditioning Repair Needs

Whatever the reason why your AC is leaking water, Donelson Air 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 highly 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 recommend 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 cooler.

Contact us at 615-953-9885 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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