Why is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water?

With air conditioner maintenance in full swing as well as the recent sporadic Kansas City weather forecasts, I am guessing that the majority of air conditioners have not yet been turned on — at least not consistently. If you have not yet done so, now is the time to schedule an annual maintenance appointment for your air conditioner to hopefully help you avoid any issues when summer arrives. A lot of our service calls during the summer months start off with, “Why is my air conditioner leaking water? Is this normal?” Understanding the difference between normal leaking and leaking water that requires a service professional is something I will try and shed some light on; hopefully saving you time and money.

Air Conditioner Function: Keep in mind that this is a very basic description of how your air conditioner unit works. There are three main components: the condenser coils, compressor; and the evaporator coil.
• The Condenser Coils & the Compressor are both housed in the unit outside your home.
• The Evaporator Coil is located inside near your furnace or air handler.
• Heat is transferred outside to the condenser coil and via refrigerant and a chemical reaction in the compressor, the refrigerant is cooled and pushed inside to the evaporator coil. This is where warm air is cooled and transferred throughout your home via the blower.
• Air conditioners are meant to dehumidify, cool, and keep your home at a consistent temperature.

Why is my air conditioner leaking water: When is it normal?
• It is important to note that air conditioners do produce condensation around the drain pipes when forced to work hard on hot days. You might notice a small amount of water dripping from the condensate drain pipe near the evaporator coils and this is normal. However, keep an eye on this to avoid it becoming a larger problem.

Why is my air conditioner leaking water: When does it become a problem?
• A dirty air filter equals restricted air flow to the evaporator coils which can lead to coils freezing and then leaking water when the drip pan become too full. You will notice this leak inside near your furnace.
• A cracked condensate pipe will allow water to leak near the outside unit where the pipe is cracked.
• A clogged condensate pipe will push water back into the drain pan, leaking onto the floor near your furnace.
• Improper installation of the air conditioning unit itself or duct work that is not properly insulated will also cause water to leak.

These are just a few of the reasons as to why your air conditioner may be leaking water and of course not all of them require a service professional, maybe just a filter change. However, the best solution is preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance is the single most important step you can take to prolong the life and efficiency of your unit and prevent minor problems from becoming major ones.