What To Do If Your Air Conditioner Starts Leaking Water

image of air conditioner leaking water inside the home

Does your air conditioner have water coming out of it? Although you shouldn’t be too concerned about a small trickle, you should still regularly check your air conditioning equipment to identify small problems as early as possible. Keep reading to learn all about the common causes of an air conditioner leaking water inside and to get tips on how to prevent this type of air conditioning issue from becoming worse.

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How Water Forms in Cooling Systems

In functional air conditioners, a bit of water formation is actually quite normal. Air conditioners draw outdoor air in and this air is then moved through their evaporator coils. The cold refrigerant inside of these coils extracts heat from the air as it passes through to cool it down. As a result, moisture condenses on the evaporator coils and turns into small droplets of water. Some moisture is necessary for keeping the evaporator coils cool. The remainder is passed through the air conditioner drainage line that lies at the back of your home cooling equipment.

Water being produced while your cooling system is on and active is actually a good thing. It is an indication that your cooling equipment is working as it should In fact, if your air conditioner doesn’t produce any moisture while in use, this is when you should worry as it’s usually a sign of trouble. For instance, residual moisture could be draining into another section of the air conditioner where you cannot see it, or water could be freezing on the evaporator coils rather than draining like it’s supposed to do.

Working air conditions typically produce between six and 20 gallons of water each day. As the outdoor weather becomes more humid, the amount of water that your system produces will likely increase too. You might have a problem if too much water is being produced and there’s a small flood around your air conditioner.

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How Will I Know When My Home Cooling System Starts Leaking Water?image of question marks depicting how will i know when my ac unit is leaking water

The surest sign that your home cooling system has started to leak water is finding water coming from anywhere else other than the water drain at the rear of your air conditioner. Water could begin to pool under an entirely different side of the cooling unit. You might find a considerable flow of water traveling down the wall in which your air conditioner is installed. It’s important to determine where you usually find water droplets during air conditioner operation so that you can easily identify anything that lies outside of the norm.

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Common Reasons Why Air Conditioners Leak Water

If you are certain that an A/C water leak is abnormal, the next thing you want to do is to determine why your cooling system is leaking. Among the most common causes of this issue are:

The Air Conditioner Drain Line Is Clogged

clogged air conditioner drain line

Your air conditioner came with a drain hose or drain pipe that’s directly connected to it and is designed to drain water from the unit’s drain pan. Excess water is pushed by the drain line from the A/C unit to the outdoors. However, as air conditioners age, sludge and other build-ups can develop on the drain pipe’s inner walls.

These build-ups will gradually block water from passing so that it starts to accumulate in the drain pan. If your drain pan is full whenever the air conditioner is turned off, this is probably the cause.

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The Air Conditioner Drain Pan Is Full or Leaking

Drain pans that are full can also overflow. During the summer months, it’s possible for air conditioning systems to drain as many as 20 gallons of water each day, especially during times of high humidity. Just unplug your drain pan so that the collected water can flow out. It may be that your drain pain is damaged or cracked. Rusting and cracking often occur over time. Inspect your drain pan for signs of damage especially if you have an older air conditioner.

The Air Filter in Your Air Conditioner Is Dirty

image of a dirty air conditioner filter that needs replacement

Not changing your air conditioner’s air filter often enough or simply having an older air conditioning unit can lead to a dirty, clogged filter. When the filter gets dirty, moisture collects inside of it and forms ice crystals that will also develop on the unit’s coils. If you keep running your air conditioner while this is happening, the ice crystals will eventually melt and being leaking from the drain pan.

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There Isn’t Enough Refrigerant In Your Air Conditioner

It could be that your air conditioner doesn’t have enough refrigerant which may be the case if your home isn’t getting as cool as it used to even though you’re using your air conditioner in the same way. Low AC refrigerant can cause water leaks due to pressure loss within the cooling system. Low pressure can result in excess moisture, freezing coils, and an overflowing drain pan. Another sign that you’ve got a refrigerant leak on your hands is a noticeable hissing sound when your turn your air conditioner on. If these symptoms start to present, contact a licensed HVAC company as soon as possible.

The Air Conditioner Evaporator Coils Have Iced Over

frozen air conditioner in summer

Evaporator coils start to ice over when the moisture formed by condensation doesn’t have an exit. As stated before, this can be the result of having a dirty, clogged air filter that prevents air from moving through the unit. Ice is formed and then it melts, and it eventually leaks into and overflows the drain pan.

The Condensate Pump in Your Air Conditioner Is Broken

Many air conditioners have condensate pumps that are designed to force excess water outdoors. If yours has one of these pumps and you notice leaking, this may be the culprit. A broken pump must be replaced or repaired by a licensed HVAC technician.

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Other Causes of Air Conditioner Leaks: Faulty A/C Installation

One reason for a leaky air conditioner that often gets overlooked is incorrect installation. For instance, your air conditioner might not be installed on a level surface. Water might unevenly fill the overflow pan and then leak out before the tub is even full. If you are using a window A/C unit, it could be that your air conditioner was put slanted downwards so that water leaks indoors. One easy way to fix the issue is by tilting the unit slightly backward so that the water drains at the back. If you have a brand new air conditioner and are already noticing air conditioner leaks, improper installation is the most likely cause.

Always have HVAC professionals install brand new cooling equipment to prevent these and many other issues.


Hire a Licensed HVAC Contractor to Avoid Air Conditioner Links

The easiest way to prevent common causes of air conditioner leaks is by outsourcing air conditioner installation, repairs, and major maintenance tasks to professionals. Having an air conditioner correctly installed can spare you a lot of frustration. Aside from knowing that your unit has been put in correctly, you’ll also have the benefit of a solid warranty, a high-quality air conditioner and air conditioner parts, and all of the after-sales support you need for caring for this important investment.

Air conditioner problems are impossible to avoid as cooling systems age. Being able to identify issues like leaks early on is important for resolving them and restoring proper functioning fast. This will also help you optimize the performance of your home cooling system, extend its lifespan, and keep your living environment comfortable all year long.

Speak with our team of seasoned HVAC technicians for reliable cooling system installation, replacement, maintenance, repairs, and more.

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