Why is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water? A Detailed Guide

Why is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water? A Detailed Guide

Is your air conditioner leaking water? Wondering why that is?

Well, here's how it goes. Your AC unit contains an evaporator coil, which cools the warm air blowing over it. This created moisture on the coil. The condensation drips into a drain pan, and further into a drain line that leads outside of your home.

Somewhere within this process - a malfunction occurs, causing your AC to leak.

However, this is a very simple way of looking at the problem. So let's take a closer look at the reasons behind your AC leaking water.

Why Is the Air Conditioner Leaking Water?

In the most common of cases, the reasons remain the same:

  1. Your drain line has been disconnected
  2. Your drain pan is clogged or broken
  3. Your evaporator coil is frozen
  4. Your coil is damaged or dirty
  5. Your condensate pump is dysfunctional
  6. Your condensate line is clogged

Looking over these 6 common causes - they all have something in common. The problem stems from the coil or drain unit. But you never know, you might have to get a full AC replacement, because it's just that time.

If you are considering looking at your own air conditioner - you MUST take these steps first to PREVENT further damage.

  1. Turn off the air conditioner system. This prevents water flow and protects equipment from further damage.
  2. Clean up water that has leaked to prevent further damage to the environment.

Alright, let's take a look at some of the reasons for leaking water in-depth.

Clogged Condensate Line

This is a potential DIY issue, but we always recommend contacting a specialist who has experience in solving these issues first-hand.

This is what the general process would look like if you hired a professional:

  1. The specialist would locate the PVC pipe near the air handler drain pan. In most cases, a 90 degree angled pipe with a cap on top.
  2. They would unscrew the cap and pour or drop a specialized unclogging/cleaning agent down the drain line, ex. slime pill.
  3. If the second step doesn't solve the problem after a short while, the specialist will proceed with deep cleaning and removing the clog within the unit. Removing all algae and fungi.
  4. They will also locate the outdoor condensate line, connect a wet-dry attachment to a specialized vacuum, and proceed to clean from there.

Depending on your situation, there may or may not be more or fewer steps than the ones outlined above.

Practically all of the newer air conditioning systems have an automatic switch for when an air filter or condensate line is clogged. If the A/C doesn't turn off, your specialist will check the air filter and drain line before doing everything.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

Speaking of checking the air filter - the next step is a frozen evaporator coil. If the air filter is clogged, air won't be able to pass through, causing your evaporator coil to freeze.

And because of this lack of proper airflow - ice will form, dripping water over time. However, a frozen evaporator coil can also be caused by a blocked vent or register, a broken motor, or a lack of refrigerant.

If you still don't get what a frozen evaporator coil is - then keep reading. A frozen evaporator coil means that your current air conditioner can no longer take in any heat from the home. This leads to a lack of air and future compressor problems if left untreated.

If you realize that your coil is frozen, turn the machine off and don't turn it on - until the problem has been resolved.

The bottom line is: you are able to avoid a frozen evaporator coil by changing your air filter on a regular basis of 30 to 90 days. And remember to allow airflow through the vents and registers, thus not blocking them.

But if it's the summer - it is recommended to switch the air filter more often, as your unit is probably already running on an extended schedule. Once a month is more than enough.

But if the problem is not solved by changing the filter, your A/C charge might be low - so the services of a specialist are unavoidable.

Drain Pan Issues

The drain pan is directly under your air handler, which has the evaporator coil within it. The pan catches the condensation, hence the name.

Now that your unit is turned off, inspect your pipe and drain pan for leakage. Clean out any overflowing water, and begin to inspect the corner, edges, and bottom.

If your drain pan is cracked or corroded through - you have to get a replacement, as any other DIY solution can have a negative effect on your health over time.

But remember that you probably have more than one drain pan. One is fixed under the evaporator coil, and the other is removable under the unit. If the problem is within the removable pan, you can just buy a new one.

And if it's the permanent pan - there is no other way than to contact a specialist, as the pan will probably be welded in place.

Say Goodbye to Your Air Conditioner Leaking Water

Now that you have a considerable understanding of the common causes for your air conditioner leaking water. You are well on your way to either resolving the issue on your own, which is generally not recommended.

Or contact a specialist who will be able to resolve and maintain your device to the best of their ability. Returning your air and cleanliness back to order - provisioning a more enjoyable at-home experience.

If you're located in Gainseville, Georgia, or anywhere within a 40-mile radius, we (Gee Heating & Air) would gladly come to take a look and help you out with any of your HVAC problems. Book your appointment online now.

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