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 produces condensate, or water, in your furnace or air handler. This water is usually sent to a drain pan and sent 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 floods the drain pan inside your furnace or air handler. It can then reach your home. This is decidedly troublesome if your furnace or air handler is placed in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In most homes, local codes demand a secondary or safety drain pan that is installed underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan has piping that is directed to the outside of the home. In general, the outlet of the pipe is placed above the outside of a window so it’s quickly noticeable if water starts draining from this pipe outlet. It is not normal for this to occur. If you see water leaking from piping on the outside of your home, this is often evidence the primary drain is backed up and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.

Here are the most common explanations for why your AC is leaking water and how to resolve the issue. Some homes can also use a safety device that can automatically turn off your AC in the event the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling unless the drain is cleared of any obstructions. Regardless, if you discover water leaking, be sure to set your thermostat to "off" to prevent any additional water damage and reach out to a Becht/Givens Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently need professional repairs, which is why we’re here to assist you at Becht/Givens 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 forms on the cold 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 can clog the drain. This keeps the water from moving away properly. Leave the unclogging process to an Expert like Becht/Givens Service Experts to guarantee it’s handled properly and without causing further damage. Service Experts can also put in a safety device that will autonomously shut off your AC in the event the drain becomes clogged again in the future, 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 unusual, the drain line connection to the drain pan could become loose or disconnected. This may happen if someone is working around the unit or when changing out the air filter. AC leaks may occur when the drain line disconnects from the pan. Take a look inside your AC to determine 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 immediately. Schedule an appointment with Becht/Givens Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners require 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 might build up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is malfunctioning. First, make sure that the pump is currently powered. If that’s not the case, the AC leak might be due to a broken condensate pump. You should check with an air conditioning contractor like Becht/Givens Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grimy or Cracked

If you see little drips rather than a larger puddle near the outside of your furnace or air handler, water might be bouncing off the evaporator coil instead of properly draining into the drain pan and condensate line. This can be the case if the coils are grimy, or if holes in the insulation protecting the coils redirect the water. The easiest approach to keep the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a Becht/Givens Service Experts membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you uncover a leak and the AC isn't cooling well, the refrigerant level may be lacking thanks to a leak. Air conditioners need refrigerant to generate cold air, so getting it looked at consistently during seasonal maintenance is very useful for the working condition of your unit. Without adequate refrigerant, the evaporator coils could freeze over and cause the drain pan to overflow as they thaw. Contrary to some expectations, your AC does not need to be recharged unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only necessary when a leak happens in the system. Call Becht/Givens Service Experts immediately to resolve 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 fill in the drain pan—sometimes creating an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem sticks around, additional repairs might be needed. Fortunately, HVAC technicians from Becht/Givens Service Experts are here to serve you, ensuring the problem gets solved.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are built to be used during warm weather. Starting your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below 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 due to ice blocking the drain pan opening. If a water leak persists, schedule a Becht/Givens Service Experts technician backed by our 100% service guarantee* to help solve the problem.

8. Damaged Drip Pan

Air conditioners are designed 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 even with normal use. If the drain pan has holes in it, a water leak could appear as condensate seeps directly through it. Becht/Givens 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, Becht/Givens Service Experts can help. 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 provide quality 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, more quickly so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cooler.

Contact us at 502-785-8230 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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