Why is My AC Leaking Water?

AC water leaking into a puddle.

Is your air conditioner all of a sudden leaking water? Water that starts to leak onto the floor from your laundry area can be a nerve-wracking thing to see and can lead to many other problems. So, if you are wondering why your AC is leaking water, Trust Heating and Air will help explain some reasons why your AC is leaking.

Resolving the Question, “Why is My AC Leaking Water?”

There are several reasons why your AC could be leaking, so let’s break down a few things and see if we can get to the bottom of the issue with a resolution.

It’s essential to act quickly and call a professional because leaking water can cause damage to the surrounding areas of your home, on the floors, furniture, and walls. An AC leak can also lead to compressor failure. So, what should happen when you discover a water leak?

What to Do First When Your AC is Leaking Water

If your AC is leaking, the first thing you want to do is to look at the evaporator coil. The coil is the part of the indoor air handler that is exactly like a coil with tube fins.

Once you have found it, check to see if it’s covered with ice and if it is, turn it on right away. Ice should not be there as it can cause system danger and failure. So if you see water on the floor, it could be from the ice melting. This is a case where an air conditioner leaking can be a major problem.

The next thing you want to do is to call a professional HVAC technician to diagnose the root of the cause and get a solution as soon as possible. This is not a problem you want to try and fix yourself.

Important Tip- Never try to chip away ice from your coils. Doing this could damage the sensitive coil fins.

You may get lucky, and this is a simple fix, like a clogged air filter that made your evaporator coil freeze up. There could also be other system problems that are impacting the airflow, causing the coils to freeze up and ultimately causing the AC to leak water.

It’s a good idea to turn off your unit even if the coils aren’t frozen to prevent water damage to the surrounding areas. This is especially true if the unit is on the roof or in an attic crawl space. Avoiding damage to the walls or ceilings is essential.

leaking water

Wall with mold stain due to air conditioner leakage, close up. Mildew destroys the wall.

Common Causes for an AC Leaking Water

Damaged Insulation

Insulation on your AC coils helps keep the accumulated condensation flowing down the coil. But when the insulation gets damaged with holes and cracks, the water drips from the coil onto the ground instead of flowing as it should. This results in damage to your space and AC.

A trained professional will be the best person to fix this issue, as you do not want to attempt this kind of repair on your own. Also, risking more damage.

Dirty Coils

When maintenance was performed on your AC unit a while ago, it is common to find layers of dust and build-up on the AC coils. When condensation builds up on the outside of the evaporator coils, it flows down the coils and into the drain pain due to dirt impeding the flow. 

Moisture becomes trapped and then drips onto the floor.

If this ends up being the reason for your AC leaking water, consider it your lucky day. When this is the case, all you need to have done is to get your coils cleaned thoroughly cleaned.

It’s not fun that your AC is leaking, but if that didn’t happen, it probably would have been a while until you noticed your dirty AC coils. So at least take that as a positive. The build-up on the coils will accumulate until the coils actually start to corrode. Once something like that happens, you could face refrigerant leaks and the possibility of a coil replacement.

Disconnected Drain Line

A disconnected drain line can happen when poor installation is performed. When your AC was installed, the drain line that takes away condensation should have been attached properly. 

If it becomes disconnected, it will lead to an AC water leak. This is a big mess, but fixing it isn’t that big of a problem.

To prevent AC leaks in the future, make sure you hire an HVAC professional to ensure a repair or replacement is done correctly.

Clogged Condensation Drain Lines

Another thing that can happen is when your unit is dirty from a lack of maintenance. When the condensation gets collected by your AC carries the debris and dust into the drain and drip pan. 

Over time the drain line can clog, causing the water to back up and eventually leak.

Again, your system needs a good cleaning once the water has been cleaned up from the leak. Eventually, the drain lines will clog up, causing the water to back up. The same situation can happen in the drain pain. You see, dust will clog the drain causing the pan to overflow with water.

You should also know that debris coated on your system’s parts will also cause it to lose efficiency. Because of this, your unit will have to run longer and has to work harder to keep your space cool. And due to constantly running, wear and tear are increased—another reason why AC maintenance is so important.

Your AC Doesn’t Have Enough Refrigerant

Suppose your air conditioning unit doesn’t have enough refrigerant. In that case, the lack of refrigerant can lower the unit’s pressure and cause refrigerant leaks. When this starts to happen, you will notice the temperature of the air coming out not getting as cold as it used to.

Evaporator coils are made to convert the liquid in the unit to a vapor. Consequently, the moisture expels from the unit and cools the surrounding area. Having low refrigerant also causes your evaporator coils to freeze.

When the unit doesn’t have enough refrigerant, there is nothing to power up the coils so they can do their job efficiently. This lack then causes the coils to freeze up over time. It won’t be a problem at first, but when the unit gets heated up, what’s been frozen will begin to leak. And that’s when you will start to see that water on the floor or in the pan.

Halloween HVAC Stories (2) AC leaking water due to a dirty AC filter

Dirty Air Filter

Another common reason for air conditioning units to start leaking is because of the air filter. When dirt accumulates, it can stop the filter from doing what it was made to do. It prevents the unit from supplying power to an important part, which is, in fact, the evaporator coils.

This dirty air filter condition is similar to insufficient refrigerant- a dirty filter will also cause the unit to leak. Then, because it gets too cold without proper airflow, you again have a freezing problem.

Freezing causes damage to the coils and other parts of the unit. Damage can also be so bad that it makes some things irreparable, leading to buying a new ac unit. Therefore, it’s always best not to let your evaporator coils freeze up in either case.

Rusted or Damaged Drain Pan

Old air conditioning units have the common problem of rusting and getting damaged over time. If the problem arises where you have a cracked pan, then you are fortunate. This is a much easier fix instead of being damaged.

A rusted pan is a little bit of a different story, though. When the rust eats through the metal, there is little material to fix or work with. Often, drain pans with a problem like this have a lot of holes, causing water to leak through them onto your floor. This also causes further damage for you to have to fix.

When Your AC is Leaking Water

Having any AC or heating problem is an issue that no one wants to deal with. It starts to cause discomfort faster than any appliance in your home that is out of service. Let the trusted professionals at Trust Heating and Air take care of the stress and the work of fixing the problem that arose for you.

TRUST Heating and Air focus on providing quality products, parts, and services to our customers’ thanks to years of experience. We are pleased to service Atlanta, GA, and surrounding cities. Contact one of our friendly staff today to get on the schedule as soon as possible.