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 transported through piping into your home’s drain system.
As a side effect, a malfunction or sludge buildup may cause the piping to become clogged. When this happens, water backs up in the drain pan inside your furnace or air handler. It can then reach your home. This is namely troublesome if your furnace or air handler is installed in the attic or above a finished ceiling.
In the bulk of homes, local codes demand a secondary or safety drain pan that is installed underneath the furnace or air handler. This secondary drain pan uses piping that is sent to the outside of the home. Typically, the outlet of the pipe is located above the outside of a window so it’s more 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 an indication the primary drain is blocked and water is now draining from the safety drain pan.
Here are the most common reasons for why your AC is leaking water and how to fix the issue. Some homes may also possess a safety device that will automatically turn off your AC if the drain becomes clogged. In this case your system will stop cooling until the drain is free of any obstructions. Regardless, if you find water leaking, be sure to set your thermostat to "off" to avoid any other water damage and reach out to a Knochelmann Service Experts service provider to correct the issues.
Leaking air conditioners frequently require professional repairs, which is why we’re here to assist you at Knochelmann Service Experts. We happily 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 appears on the chilled metal surface. At the end of the process, the water drains into a pan beneath the indoor coil in 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 prevents the water from draining away properly. Leave the unclogging process to an Expert like Knochelmann Service Experts to guarantee it’s handled properly and without causing additional damage. Service Experts can also install a safety device that will autonomously shut off your AC if the drain becomes clogged again later on, thus preventing water damage in your home. Of course, consistent maintenance on your AC will help keep your condensate drain flushed and unhindered.
2. Drain Line Is Disconnected
While uncommon, the drain line connection to the drain pan may become loose or disconnected. This will sometimes be the cause if someone is working nearby the unit or when changing out the air filter. AC leaks may occur when the drain line is lose from the pan. Check your AC to see if the drain line is still leading to the coil drain pan. If it is no longer connected, we recommend calling an HVAC technician to take care of this issue as soon as possible. Arrange an appointment with Knochelmann Service Experts today.
3. Condensate Pump Isn’t Working
Some air conditioners require a condensate pump to properly drain the water. These pumps are required when the home’s drain system is placed above the AC unit. Even if the drain is clear, water may back up in the pan and leak out if the condensate pump is not functioning. First, make sure that the pump is still powered. If that’s not the problem, the AC leak might be due to a broken condensate pump. You should check with an air conditioning contractor like Knochelmann Service Experts to resolve the issue.
4. Evaporator Coil Is Grimy or Damaged
If you see tiny drips instead of a more substantial puddle around the outside of your furnace or air handler, water may be bouncing off the evaporator coil compared to properly flowing into the drain pan and condensate line. This can be the case if the coils are soiled, or if holes in the insulation protecting the coils redirect the water. The best approach to stop the evaporator coil from going downhill is to keep up with annual air conditioning maintenance using a Knochelmann Service Experts membership.
5. Low Refrigerant Level
If you find a leak and the AC isn't cooling enough, the refrigerant level may be lacking because of a leak. Air conditioners rely on refrigerant to produce cold air, so getting it looked at consistently during seasonal maintenance is extremely beneficial for the life span of your unit. Without enough refrigerant, the evaporator coils may 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 done when a leak occurs in the system. Call Knochelmann Service Experts as soon as you can to resolve AC refrigerant issues quickly.
6. Dirty Air Filter
Your air conditioner's filter has to be changed regularly to encourage enough airflow. Without adequate ventilation, the evaporator coils can become too cold and freeze. The evaporator coils will then thaw, causing excess water to collect in the drain pan—potentially causing an overflow. To resolve this, try changing your air filter. If the problem lasts, more repairs may be required. Luckily, HVAC technicians from Knochelmann Service Experts are ready to serve you, ensuring the problem gets fixed.
7. Outdoor Temperature Is Too Cold to Run AC
Air conditioners are built to provide enough cooling for warm weather. Running 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 Knochelmann Service Experts technician backed by our 100% service guarantee* to help solve the problem.
8. Damaged Drip Pan
Air conditioners are made to last, but nothing survives forever. If you own an AC that is 12 years or older, the drip pan may be damaged or corroded even with normal use. If the drain pan has holes in it, a water leak may appear as condensate seeps directly through it. Knochelmann Service Experts can replace the drain pan and ensure your AC gets back to working like it’s supposed to.
Our Experts Can Tackle All Your Air Conditioning Repair Needs
Whatever the reason why your AC is leaking water, Knochelmann 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 highly trained, knowledgeable and certified to provide exemplary 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 could help you catch AC issues, like water leaks, promptly so you can avoid future breakdowns while keeping your house cooler.
Contact us at 859-905-0834 to schedule your air conditioning appointment in North America today!