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

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 sent through piping into your home’s drain system.

A byproduct of this process, an error or sludge buildup may cause the piping to become backed up. When this happens, water floods the drain pan inside your furnace or air handler. It can then spill into your home. This is decidedly troublesome if your furnace or air handler is located in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In a majority of homes, building codes necessitate a secondary or safety drain pan that is located underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan uses piping that is directed to the outside of the home. Most of the time, the outlet of the pipe is located above the outside of a window so it’s quickly noticeable if water is 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 an indication the primary drain is blocked and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.

Here are the most common causes for why your AC is leaking water and how to repair the issue. Some homes may also use a safety device that should automatically turn off your AC if the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling unless the drain is cleaned of any obstructions. Regardless, if you find water leaking, ensure you set your thermostat to "off" to stop any additional water damage and contact a Sunbeam Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners frequently demand professional repairs, which is why we’re here to assist you at Sunbeam 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 condenses on the chilly metal surface. Ultimately, the water drains into a pan underneath the indoor coil inside the furnace or air handler. As the cooling sequence occurs, the condensate flows out of the pan and into drain piping before the pan overflows.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris might clog the drain. This prevents the water from draining away properly. Entrust the unclogging process to an Expert like Sunbeam Service Experts to make sure it’s performed properly and without causing further damage. Service Experts can also add a safety device that will autonomously turn off your AC just in case the drain becomes blocked again later on, thus avoiding water damage inside your home. Of course, routine maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain flushed and unhindered.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While not very common, the drain line connection to the drain pan may become loose or disconnected. This can be the cause if someone is working near the unit or when replacing the air filter. AC leaks can occur when the drain line is lose from the pan. Take a look inside your AC to find out if the drain line is still connected to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we recommend calling an HVAC technician to resolve this issue immediately. Make an appointment with Sunbeam Service Experts today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners require a condensate pump to properly drain the water. These pumps are necessary when the home’s drain system is put above the AC unit. Even if the drain is free of obstructions, water can collect in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is inoperable. First, double-check that the pump is currently powered. If that’s not the root cause, the AC leak may be due to a broken condensate pump. You should check with an air conditioning contractor like Sunbeam Service Experts to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grimy or Damaged

If you see little drips instead of a more substantial puddle nearby the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be bouncing off the evaporator coil instead of properly flowing into the drain pan and condensate line. This can happen if the coils are soiled, or if holes in the insulation protecting the coils redirect the water. The smart approach to keep the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a Sunbeam 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 due to a leak. Air conditioners rely on refrigerant to produce cold air, so getting it checked regularly during seasonal maintenance is extremely important for the health of your unit. Without a full supply of refrigerant, the evaporator coils might freeze over and cause the drain pan to overflow as they thaw. Despite some expectations, your AC does not need to be replenished unless there is a leak. The system is sealed and recharging is only done when a leak appears within the system. Call Sunbeam Service Experts immediately to resolve AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter should be changed regularly to ensure enough airflow. Without adequate ventilation, the evaporator coils could become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to accumulate in the drain pan—possibly producing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem lasts, additional repairs may be the best option. Luckily, HVAC technicians from Sunbeam Service Experts are here to serve you, ensuring the problem gets resolved.

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 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 Sunbeam 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 lasts forever. If you have 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 can appear as condensate seeps directly through it. Sunbeam 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, Sunbeam Service Experts can solve the issue. We’ll troubleshoot and fix your air conditioner, getting it back to running again as soon as possible.

Our technicians are well trained, knowledgeable and certified to complete 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 recommend a worry-free membership plan. This may help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, faster so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house comfortable.

Contact us at 716-427-6807 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

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