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

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

As a side effect, faulty components or sludge buildup may cause the piping to become backed up. When this happens, water floods the drain pan in your furnace or air handler. It can then spill into your home. This is namely troublesome if your furnace or air handler is up in the attic or above a finished ceiling.

In the bulk of homes, municipal codes necessitate a secondary or safety drain pan that is put underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan has piping that is directed 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 is 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 evidence the primary drain is backed up 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 resolve the issue. Some homes can also have a safety device that should 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 spot water leaking, be sure to set your thermostat to "off" to avoid any additional water damage and contact a Stark Services service provider to correct the issues.

Leaking air conditioners routinely do best with professional help, which is why we’re here to assist you at Stark Services. 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 moves over the evaporator coil, water forms on the chilled metal surface. At the end of the process, the water drains into a pan under 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 overflows.

However, mold, mineral deposits, dirt and other debris can clog the drain. This stops the water from draining away correctly. Trust the unclogging process to an Expert like Stark Services for the peace of mind it’s performed properly and without causing more damage. Service Experts can also install a safety device that will quickly switch off your AC just in case the drain becomes clogged again in the future, thus preventing water damage within your home. Of course, scheduling maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain clean and unhindered.

2. Drain Line Is Disconnected

While somewhat rare, the drain line connection to the drain pan can become loose or disconnected. This may occur if someone is working near the unit or when swapping out the air filter. AC leaks can occur when the drain line disconnects from the pan. Take a look inside your AC to see if the drain line is still leading to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we encourage calling an HVAC technician to repair this issue immediately. Schedule an appointment with Stark Services today.

3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working

Some air conditioners rely on a condensate pump to efficiently drain the water. These pumps are required when the home’s drain system is placed above the AC unit. Even if the drain is unobstructed, water may collect in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is broken. First, make sure that the pump is being powered. If that’s not the problem, the AC leak may be due to a broken condensate pump. You should call an air conditioning contractor like Stark Services to resolve the issue.

4. Evaporator Coil Is Grubby or Broken

If you see small drips instead of a larger puddle nearby 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 around 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 Stark Services membership.

5. Low Refrigerant Level

If you uncover a leak and the AC isn't cooling like it’s supposed to, the refrigerant level may be insufficient thanks to a leak. Air conditioners need refrigerant to create cold air, so getting it looked at regularly during seasonal maintenance is very useful for the health of your unit. Without adequate refrigerant, the evaporator coils could 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 required when a leak occurs within the system. Call Stark Services immediately to resolve AC refrigerant issues quickly.

6. Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner's filter has to 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 fill in the drain pan—possibly producing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem remains, further repairs might be the best option. Luckily, HVAC technicians from Stark Services are happy to serve you, ensuring the problem gets fixed.

7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC

Air conditioners are designed to provide enough cooling for warm weather. Starting your AC when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower will sometimes 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 Stark Services technician backed by our 100% service guarantee* to help solve the problem.

8. Damaged Drip Pan

Air conditioners are made to last, but nothing lives forever. If you own 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 can appear as condensate seeps directly through it. Stark Services can replace the drain pan and ensure your AC gets back to working normally.

Our Experts Can Tackle All Your Air Conditioning Repair Needs

Whatever the reason why your AC is leaking water, Stark Services can solve the issue. We’ll troubleshoot and fix your air conditioner, getting it back to running again right away.

Our technicians are highly trained, knowledgeable and certified to perform dependable 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 advise signing up for 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 comfortable.

Contact us at 817-668-6689 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!

Contact Us