AC Leaking Water: 5 Reasons and Troubleshooting Tips

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Leaking air conditioners can be a problem in more ways than one: they cause a large mess in your home, and an air conditioner leaking water usually means the unit has an underlying problem. There might be a problem with the drain line, evaporator coil, or filter which needs to be addressed immediately.

In this article, we look at the 5 most common reasons for an air conditioner leaking water, and what we can do to prevent air conditioner leaks. First, find out whether your air conditioner is leaking water or refrigerant, the latter of which will require an HVAC technician to fix.

Reason Description Solution
Full Drain Pan The drain pan has collected condensation to the brim, and is overflowing with water. Clear the water from the drain pan frequently.
Clogged Drain Line Dust or debris is clogging the condensate drain line, causing water to back up into the AC unit. Manually unclog the drain line with a chopstick, or take it out and run a gush of water through the drain line to push the clog out.
Dirty Air Filter A dirty air filter will cause the AC to freeze up, which drips as it thaws out. Clean the air filter regularly to prevent this from happening.
Frozen Evaporator Coil A dirty evaporator coil can freeze, which will cause the AC to leak water as the ice melts. Clean the evaporator coils with a can of compressed air, or a long brush.
Refrigerant Leak Refrigerant liquid is leaking out of the AC. Unplug the AC unit and contact an HVAC technician.

5 Reasons for AC Leaking Water

Reason #1 Full Drain Pan

The most common reason for a leaking air conditioning system is a full drain pan. As the air conditioner cools down warm air, it creates condensation that is collected in a drain pan. The drain pan may overflow when the air is humid, and there is increased condensation collected in the pan. This overflow causes your AC unit to leak water.

Reason #2 Clogged Condensate Drain Line

Another common reason for a leaking AC unit is a clogged drain line. The drain line may be obstructed by dirt and debris, which will cause the condensation to back up into the unit. You will need to manually unclog the condensate drain line to fix the issue.

Alternatively, you may have a broken condensate pump that fails to pump condensation out of your AC unit. The result is water leaking into your home through the indoor AC unit as the condensation has nowhere else to flow into. You will need to replace the condensate pump for a functioning one.

Reason #3 Dirty Air Filter

Dirty air filters can cause various problems for your air conditioner, and leaking water is one of them. A dirty filter can cause the appliance to freeze up and leak water as the ice melts. The dust on the filter can travel through the drain line as well, and cause clogs that would allow the water to back up into your AC unit.

Take the filter out, and clean it with soap and water. Allow the ice to melt if the filter is frozen, and use a soft brush to gently scrub the mesh of the air filter. Let the filter dry before placing it back into your air conditioner.

Reason #4 Frozen Evaporator Coil

Like a dirty filter, a filthy evaporator coil will cause the air conditioner parts to freeze, which will cause water leaks as the ice melts. An air conditioner leaking water inside your home is a sign of a frozen AC, especially when the unit leaks as it is shut off. You will need to let the ice melt before cleaning the evaporator coil to prevent further damage.

Reason #5 Refrigerant Leak

Sometimes, the water leaking out of your air conditioner isn't water at all, but refrigerant. If you notice a bubbling noise along with a small leak that may or may not have iced up, then you most likely have refrigerant leaks.

Contact a licensed HVAC technician immediately if you suspect your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant as touching or inhaling freon can irritate your skin and lungs. Avoid staying in the same room as a liquid or gas refrigerant leak, and turn off the air conditioner immediately if you suspect a refrigerant leak.

5 Tips to Prevent AC Leaking Water

Tip #1 Drain the Drain Pan

An air conditioner leaking water from its drain pan is an easy fix. Simply drain away the condensation collected in the drain pan to get your AC up and running again. Take notice when your drain pan gets full, and schedule a routine to drain the water away before it overflows. This is most recommended for portable and floor type air conditioners.

Tip #2 Go for Scheduled Aircon Cleaning

Regular aircon cleaning is a must for all aircon types. Our technicians at Luce Aircon offer thorough, deep cleaning ac services to clean all models and brands of air conditioners across Singapore, so you can be sure we'll get the job done efficiently and effectively. We recommend having your AC unit professionally cleaned at least twice a year.

Tip #3 Clean the Air Filter Regularly

The air filter can be easily cleaned at home with some regular soap or detergent, and water. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove deep-seated grime, and clean the filter once every two weeks to keep your air conditioner working smoothly.

Tip #4 Fix Any Issues Immediately

Contact the best aircon servicing technician immediately at the first notice of an issue or problem with your air conditioner, such as a gas leak, broken parts, or electrical problems. Do not attempt to fix the air conditioner yourself if you're not experienced handling appliances, and never DIY electrical problems.

Tip #5 Avail Aircon Maintenance Services Regularly

Don't just contact an aircon service company when something goes wrong with your unit, your air conditioner would greatly benefit from a yearly maintenance checkup to ensure each part of your unit is functioning as it should. You'll notice weak points before they become problems, and prevent you from costly repairs in the long run.

Check out our article on portable AC keeps shutting off

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