Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water?

Have you ever walked outside to find the condenser unit of your air conditioner leaking water? Maybe you noticed a puddle of water indoors after your AC runs for an extended period of time — whichever is the case, if your air conditioner leaks water, it’s important to schedule AC repair immediately.

Is It Normal for My AC to Leak Water?

You can expect your air conditioner to leak some water when it runs. But, it’s important to understand the difference between an expected amount of water and when your air conditioner is leaking too much. Keep reading to learn why your air conditioner leaks water and when to call an HVAC professional for help.

Reasons Your Air Conditioner Leaks Water

The following issues can all be the cause of your central air conditioner leaking water:

  1. A clogged condensate drain can cause AC water leaks – From time to time, your condensate drain may become partially blocked or completely clogged due to a buildup of dirt, rust, algae, and other debris.
  2. Disconnected drain line in your air conditioner – If your air conditioner was improperly installed, its drain line can loosen over time and cause the pipe to disconnect from its connection within your air conditioner. Similar to when the condensate drain is clogged, a disconnected drain line may cause your air conditioner to leak.
  3. Air conditioner running in cold temperatures – In Philadelphia and its suburbs, it can be easy to let your air conditioning run long after it’s necessary. If your air conditioner attempts to cool your home when outdoor temperatures drop below 60°F, the cooling coils may ice up and cause your air conditioner to leak water.
  4. Cracked condensate drain inside your AC – Over time your condensate pan may rust and crack. When this happens, your drain pan is no longer sealed and could cause water to leak from your air conditioner.
  5. Your air conditioner’s air filters are dirty – A dirty air filter restricts airflow over the evaporator coils. As a result, the coils get too cold and freeze over. When they melt, excess moisture drips into the condensate pan and causes it to overflow.
  6. The AC’s refrigerant levels are low – Similar to a dirty air filter, low refrigerant levels result in a low amount of pressure in your air conditioning system, causing the evaporator coils to freeze over. If your evaporator coils freeze, it could cause the drain pan to overflow and leak water.

How Much Water Should I Expect My AC to Leak?

During operation, your air conditioning unit will produce small amounts of condensation. How much water leaks from your air conditioner, however, depends on a couple of factors, including the thermostat setting and the temperature outside.

How Much Water Leaking From My Air Conditioner Is Too Much?

Small amounts of condensation near your AC’s drain pipe is normal and to be expected. When your air conditioner works hard during extremely hot and humid days, you can expect to see more water leaking than average. A small puddle underneath the condensing unit is most likely the result of normal operation.

During normal operation, you can expect to see some leaking and condensation on your unit. If your unit is leaking even when it’s not in use, it could be a sign of a bigger problem.

If your water leak continues for more than 24 hours, call a professional air conditioning contractor to inspect your unit.

How Do I Stop My Outdoor Condenser From Leaking?

If you’ve been dealing with too many AC repairs, it may be time to upgrade your system and switch to a regular maintenance plan. Many of the causes of indoor and outdoor AC unit leaks can be remedied with proactive and preventative maintenance practices. As mentioned above, one of the main causes of AC leaks is a faulty condensate pan. 

Regularly scheduled tune-ups for your HVAC system will include inspecting your condensate pan for faults and early signs of damage. In the long run, preventive maintenance will save you money in repairs, energy bills, and emergency HVAC services. Professional maintenance is a sure-fire way to keep your system running at maximum efficiency for years to come. 

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