Why is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water?

If you’re searching why is my air conditioner leaking water, I assume you have a problem happening right now. If so, let’s deal with that first and then we’ll cover why it’s happening.

why is my air conditioner leaking water


What To Do If Your Air Conditioner Is Leaking Water Right Now

  1. Turn your thermostat to the OFF position.
  2. If equipped, turn your thermostat FAN switch to the ON position.
  3. Call your air conditioning service company for emergency service.


If Your Indoor Unit is in the Attic or on the Roof

  1. ac leaking water on ceilingIf water is leaking through your drywall ceiling or a bubble is forming, you need to relieve the pressure. This will hopefully prevent a large portion of the ceiling from collapsing. Get a bucket or some large pots and a screwdriver. Use the screwdriver to poke a hole or two in the ceiling above the bucket or pots. This step will allow the water to flow out quickly so the weight of the water doesn’t cause more damage.

Note: It’s very easy to patch and paint a few screwdriver holes. Replacing an entire section of ceiling and the mess it creates if it collapses is substantially more expensive and aggravating.

Skip to step #8 if your indoor unit is in the attic.

If Your Indoor Unit is in the Garage or a Closet

  1. The quicker you eliminate standing water the better. Use a wet-vac or towels to remove as much water as possible.
  2. If there is a removable grill on the wall underneath the unit or to the side of the unit, take it off. (This is typically screwed into the wall).
  3. Use your wet-vac or towels to remove as much water as possible underneath the unit.
  4. You’ve done everything you can do to prevent further damage until your air conditioning service company arrives. Now let’s talk about why your air conditioner is leaking water in the first place.


Why is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water?

Your home air conditioning unit acts partially as a whole home dehumidifier by default. As air flows through the unit, it goes through a component called an evaporative coil. The evaporator removes moisture from the air as it passes through it. That moisture then drips into a pan underneath the coil which is connected to a drainpipe that carries it outside. That drainpipe is commonly referred to as a condensation drain or condensation line.


Your Air Conditioners Condensation Line is Clogged or Broken

The most common reason your air conditioner is leaking water is due to a clogged condensation line. Condensation drain clogs are common and can develop quickly. This is because the air flowing through your coil also carries dust and dander which sticks to the coil.

When that dust and moisture combine, they create a thick sludge which can clog the entire drain line.

A broken or cracked drain line, drain fitting or drain pan will also lead to your air conditioner leaking water. This is far less common than a clog, but it’s certainly not unheard of.


How to Prevent an Air Conditioner Leaking Water

You can prevent an air conditioner from leaking water due to clogged condensate lines by:

  1. Change your air filters regularly.
  2. Have your air conditioner professionally cleaned and serviced twice annually.
  3. If needed, your HVAC Technician should recommend coil cleaning and sometimes drain pan cleaning. Don’t ignore the recommendation! It’s cheaper to maintain your system than it is to repair a water-damaged home.
  4. Have your drain line tested for proper drainage during the cooling season visit. If your HVAC technician recommends drain line cleaning, don’t ignore the recommendation!


Install an Emergency Drain Switch to Prevent an Air Conditioner Leaking Water

An emergency drain switch, aka drain safety switch, is designed to shut off the unit when it senses water backup. There are many different types on the market depending on the application they’re being installed in. Magic Touch Mechanical includes an emergency drain switch in all new split-system air conditioner installations we do – because they work!

If your attic air handler is equipped with an emergency overflow drain pan, we recommend the puck-style emergency drain switch. This method provides a 3rd level of protection by shutting off the unit when it senses moisture in the secondary pan.

If your air handler (indoor unit) is in a closet or garage, you most likely only have an option for an inline switch. These tend to be a little more finicky, but a false positive is still better than water damage. We do respond to some calls where the switch was accidentally triggered, but again, a little nuisance and paying a service call beats the alternative. False positives aren’t that common, but I thought I’d mention it because we do see them.


Schedule You’re A/C Tuneup & Cleaning Right Now!

We all procrastinate! If you haven’t had your air conditioner tune-up & cleaning done in the last six months – schedule now.

August & September are historically the most humid and rainy months here in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Monsoon brings not only dust, but humidity to the Valley of the Sun. Since dust mixed with moisture create the slimy sludge that builds up in your condensate line – now is the time. You won’t have to worry about your air conditioner leaking water into your home and causing damage with regular maintenance.

You may also like: Water Leaking from Pipe of the Side of Your House



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