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Why is My AC Leaking Water

Your air conditioner is the backbone of your HVAC system. It’s supposed to keep you cool all summer long, which is why it’s worrisome when the smallest thing happens. If you walked past your air conditioner and noticed water leaking out of it, you might be concerned. However, by educating yourself and knowing when to call for help, you’ll have no problem fixing it.

Why is your AC leaking water? That’s the question, and Knight Plumbing has the answer. We have prepared a guide to help you find out why water is leaking out of your air conditioner. Let’s jump in and find out the problem with your air conditioner.

Reasons an Air Conditioner Leaks Water

Your air conditioning system is complex and has many moving parts. That’s why you should find out what’s wrong when water starts leaking out. Ignoring the issue risks further problems. Here are the common causes of an air conditioner leaking water.

Condensate Drain Line Blockage

Often, a clogged condensate drain line is the mastermind behind your AC system leaking water. Let us break it down for you. Your AC unit’s dehumidification process collects water, which often contains dirt debris. When this happens, the condensate drain line will start filling up, resulting in a clog. Because the condensate pump cannot send the water anywhere else, it will start accumulating inside your air conditioner. Eventually, the water will make its way out of the drain pan and into your home.

The majority of new air conditioners have a cutoff switch, which stops the unit when the drain line gets clogged. However, not all of them have this feature to protect your home from water damage. If this is the case, you’ll have to turn off your air conditioner manually.

Drain Pan That’s Damaged or Has Rust

A rusted drain is never good. This part can be found beneath your air conditioner’s evaporator coil and is designed to catch condensation as it drips down. When the drain pan suffers from basic wear and tear or rusts, water will start leaking out of your unit instead of going into the drain line.

This often happens towards the end of your AC’s lifespan, which is generally around the 15-20 year mark. Rust and corrosion are signs of aging. Watch out for these, as they can cause your air conditioner to leak water.

Disconnected Drain Line

During the dehumidification process, condensation is supposed to go from your drain pan and down into the drain line. However, when the drain line is not connected properly, your air conditioner will leak water. This often occurs naturally over time or due to an improper repair job.

Be very wary of a disconnected drain line. If left unaddressed, water can turn into a puddle and start leaking through the ceiling. Where the water ends up depends on where your AC unit is.

Condensate Pump or Float Switch is Broken

When your indoor AC unit is in a basement or an attic, water can struggle to make its way through your drain line. That’s where a condensate pump can help you out. It lets water flow freely through the drain line without struggle.

However, when the water level inside your condensate pump rises, the pump’s float switch is activated. In turn, the condensate pump drains water and sends it away from your home.

That’s where the issue with a broken condensate pump or malfunctioning float switch lies. When either of these scenarios occur, water will accumulate and start leaking out of your air conditioner.

Condensation Accumulation

Condensation is essential to helping your air conditioner dehumidify the air. Over time, condensation can build up and cause your air conditioner to leak water from the air ducts or vents. This has all sorts of consequences, including damaging your insulation, mold growth, and deteriorated air quality.

Condensation can accumulate for a few reasons, including:

  • Improperly insulated air ducts
  • Clogged ducts, dirty air filters and drain pump blockages
  • High humidity levels

No matter the cause of the extra condensation, it will result in water leakage. AC maintenance is essential to prevent this from happening.

Evaporator Coils Freezing

Evaporator coils are important parts of your air conditioning system. Unfortunately, they can freeze as a result of a refrigerant leak or lack of airflow. Over time, moisture can accumulate, resulting in the drain pan overflowing, making water leak out.

Dirty Air Filters

One of the main causes of an air conditioner leaking water is dirty air filters. When air filters trap debris, they can become clogged, which can hurt indoor air quality and prevent proper airflow from the unit.

Additionally, when air filters are blocked, warm air does not pass through. This triggers a chain reaction in which the refrigerant cannot absorb it. The end result is often frozen evaporator coils.

Improper Air Conditioner Installation

There’s a right way and a wrong way to install an air conditioning unit. That’s why you should ask a professional HVAC technician to help you get the job done right. Improper installation is one of the leading causes of leaking air conditioners.

When an AC system is installed incorrectly, it can lead to a plethora of problems. The air conditioner and drain pipes should be proportionate. When this isn’t the case, water will not drip into the drain pan, causing the air conditioner to leak.

Damage Water Leaking From Your Air Conditioner Can Cause

If you leave an AC leaking water for long enough, it can cause all sorts of damage. Let’s review the consequences of leaving your air conditioner to leak.

Mold Growth

Mold thrives in damp, moist environments. When water leaks from your air conditioner, it creates a potential home for mold. Mold isn’t good for those with asthma and respiratory issues. Additionally, it can affect your indoor air quality if it manages to make its way into your ducts and vents. Getting rid of water sooner than later makes the most sense.

Hurting Electrical Components

Water and electricity do not mix. When water leaks out of your air conditioner, it has the potential to damage its electrical components. Not only will this hurt the fan, but it also increases the risk of fire and electrocution. When water leaks from your AC unit, you should get a professional to take a look immediately.

Preventing Your AC Unit From Leaking in the Future

If your AC unit has water coming out of it, you might be worried. However, doing a good job maintaining your system is an efficient way to prevent future leaks. Here are some best practices to follow.

Change Your Air Filters

Air filters should be clear and do their job. When they get dirty, they block airflow, which is one of the main causes of water leakage. Luckily, they are fairly affordable and will save you money on air conditioning repair costs that come with a leaking AC unit.

Keep Your Condensate Drain Line Clean

Your condensate drain line is where the water goes after it empties out of your drain pan. It should be clear at all times to ensure the water has somewhere to go after the dehumidification process. Clean it regularly with a long wire brush to avoid clogs and leaks.

Choose the Right Drain Pan

If your drain pan is too small for your air conditioner, it can cause problems. If you have to replace your drain pan due to rust or damage, pick one that fits. Ensure it’s compatible with your air conditioner by reading the label before buying it. Your drain pan has to be the right size for your particular system.

Stop Your Air Conditioning System From Leaking Today!

If your AC is leaking water, you have reason to worry. If left unaddressed, the standing water can be a breeding ground for mold or a fire or electrocution hazard. It’s important to stop leaks to keep your AC unit running at peak performance.

Knight Plumbing in Calgary offers AC repair services to help you keep your system in top shape. Contact us today to fix your leaking air conditioner.

Air Conditioner Leaking Water FAQs

How do I stop my air conditioner from leaking water?

You can take a few steps to stop your air conditioner from leaking water. The first step is calling a qualified HVAC technician to fix it. Cleaning or replacing the air filter, clearing out the drain hole, replacing the drain pan, cleaning the drain line and adjusting the tilt in the case of a window unit can help. However, you should leave this job to a professional to avoid damaging your AC unit.

Can I run my AC if it is leaking water?

If your air conditioner is leaking water, you should turn it off immediately. Running an air conditioner that’s leaking water can damage its parts or result in a fire or electrocution.

Why is my AC leaking water from the bottom?

If you notice water coming from the bottom of your air conditioner, it’s because your drain line is clogged. The drain line is where the collection pan empties during the dehumidification process. When the line is clogged, there’s nowhere for the water to go, so it ends up leaking out of the bottom of the AC unit.

How do I fix a leaking AC drain?

The best way to fix a leaking AC drain is by removing the debris using a wet/dry vac. If this home remedy doesn’t work, we recommend calling a local HVAC professional.

Does every AC leak water?

Yes, every air conditioner leaks water. That’s because condensation forms under the AC compressor when it runs. However, this dries up rather quickly and isn’t something to worry about.

Who should I call if my AC is leaking water? 

If your AC is leaking water, you should contact your local HVAC technician to find the cause of the problem and solve it.

If my AC is leaking, should I repair it or replace it? 

The answer to this question will vary depending on several factors. Consider the age of your air conditioner and the costs of repairs compared to replacement. A new air conditioner that leaks water should be repaired. In contrast, an older air conditioner that breaks down and leaks frequently should be replaced.

If my AC is leaking water, does that mean that I didn’t give it enough maintenance?

Not maintaining your air conditioner can contribute to it leaking water. For example, leaks are more likely to occur if you don’t change the air filters and keep up with regular repairs. The best maintenance practices include keeping the drain line open for water to flow through and calling your local HVAC technician when something goes wrong.