Sudden water leaks in homes are very worrying. Water runoff can be a costly problem relative to its source. Air conditioners are the most common source of water discharge. There are several solutions that can be applied if the air conditioning unit is leaking water, but the cause of the problem must be determined first. So why do the air conditioners leak water?

If your air conditioner has started to leak water, it is very important to act quickly. When you notice water leaks from the air conditioner, you should turn off the air conditioning unit immediately and contact the technical service soon as possible. If water continues to leak from the air conditioner’s internal unit and the unit continues to be used, it may ultimately break down.

While a leaking air conditioner is a worrying situation, it often requires low repair costs. In some cases, it is even possible to fix the problem without any professional support. In this article, we will try to give more detailed information about the water coming from the indoor unit of the air conditioner, the causes, and solutions to this situation.

Why Does The Air Conditioner Leak Water?

Air conditioning systems not only preserve heat but also regulate and keep the humidity level constant in the house. The indoor unit of air conditioners consists of evaporator coils. While the hot air in the environment is drawn into the air conditioning unit, it condenses the cold evaporator coils and thus reduces the humid air in the environment.

The condensed moisture in the air conditioner drips into the drain pan with a condensation drainpipe. This line goes outside and discharges the water. The system usually does not cause any problems when draining the condensate, but sometimes it cannot drain due to too much humidity. This causes the air conditioner to exceed its capacity and leak.

Can Air Conditioning Be Used When Water Leaks?

Even if the air conditioner unit leaks water, it continues to operate. However, you may feel a decrease in cooling and heating performance. Since the cause and level of the leak are unknown, if the air conditioner is leaking water turning it off is always a safer choice.

In some cases, damage to internal AC components can be severe, and continued operation of the unit may result in compressor failure. Air conditioner leaking water from the indoor unit poses a potential threat to the quality of walls, ceilings, furniture, and other household items. Excess moisture can also cause mold growth. Damp and mold are a serious threat to your health. 

Causes of Air Conditioners Leaking Water

If the air conditioner indoor unit is leaking water, there may be several reasons. From clogged drain lines to dirty air filters, there can be many reasons why the air conditioner cannot remove moisture from the proper duct. Below are the most common of these reasons:

Cause #1: Frozen Evaporator Coil

Air conditioners have many essential components that are used to heat or cool the indoor air. One of these components is the evaporator coil, which is responsible for cooling the refrigerant through the tube. It does this by taking heat from the air inside the house and sending it to the condenser coil outside. Problems in the evaporator coil are the most common causes of water leaking from the indoor unit of the air conditioner.

When annual air conditioner maintenance and cleaning are not done, the evaporator coil can become covered with a layer of dust and dirt. When the battery is dirty, it cannot exchange heat between the indoor air and the refrigerant. This causes the evaporator coil to become very cold, and as a result, ice may form. Over time, the entire coil may become covered with ice.

The evaporator coil should be checked first when a puddle of water is noticed under the air conditioner. Frost may have formed around the coil. Because the coil is covered in ice, the air conditioning system may leak water. While this situation should be fixed immediately, it is unlikely to cause permanent damage to the air conditioning unit. When this situation occurs, the first thing to do is to contact the technical service and keep the air conditioner off during this process.

Cause #2: Clogged Drain Line

If the air conditioner is leaking water, there may be a problem with the air conditioner’s indoor air dehumidification system. High humidity levels make it difficult for the air conditioner to cool the house. This is why air conditioners try to reduce humidity first as part of the cooling process.

The water drain line can become clogged over time, just like any other pipe in the home. When this happens, water may accumulate inside the unit. If the drainpipe is not cleaned in time, the piled-up water would spill from the condensation pan.

If water is leaking from the indoor unit of the air conditioner, the most common reason for this is clogging of the water discharge pipes. An air conditioning technician can use a wet/dry vacuum to remove dust, dirt, or mold from drain pipes. In this way, the problem would be solved in a short time.

Cause #3: Rusty Drain Pan

If the air conditioner is leaking water, another part of it that can cause this is the condensation pan. As we explained above, the condensation pan collects the moisture drawn from the indoor air. After collecting in a 1-inch deep pan, the water is routed through a drain pipe to the outdoors.

The pan prevents moisture from dripping into the air conditioner and leaking into the house. Because the pan is shallow, it may overflow if the condensate drain is clogged. In this way, the water spilled from the pan will leak into the house.

Condensate drain pans can rust over time, especially when the air conditioner is ten or older. Holes and cracks in a rusty condensate pan may cause problems such as air conditioner leaks.

Cause #4: Low Refrigerant

Changes in the refrigerant may also cause water to come out of the air conditioner indoor unit. Domestic air conditioning systems do not need refrigerants as in cars. They do not work with the same system. For this reason, it is not necessary to regularly refrigerate domestic air conditioners. However, malfunctions may occur in air conditioners that cause refrigerants to leak, usually manifested by a hissing or bubbling sound coming from the system. 

If there is a refrigerant leak in the air conditioner, the unit needs to be repaired and the reduced refrigerant replaced. Without the right amount of refrigerant, the air conditioner cannot absorb heat from the indoor air. This problem hinders the air conditioner’s ability to cool the house and may also cause the evaporator coil to become extremely cold. Once the evaporator coil reaches a specific temperature, it begins to form ice inside the unit. This ice may cause the air conditioner to leak water. If the air conditioning unit is leaking water and the reason is refrigerant, professional support should be sought for a solution because the refrigerant is a toxic gas and can be fatal when inhaled.

What Is The Solution If The Air Conditioner Indoor Unit Is Leaking Water?

If water comes from the indoor unit of the air conditioner, you should follow the steps below. You can cut off the water coming from the air conditioner in a few simple steps, but remember that the refrigerant in air conditioners is a toxic gas and may cause serious health problems if it leaks. Therefore, we recommend that you seek professional support to prevent dangerous leaks if the problem persists after following the steps below.

  • First, check the air conditioner filters and make sure they are clean. If the filters are dirty or clogged, they need to be cleaned thoroughly, and thus the problem should be solved.
  • Then check the drainpipes and remove any blockages that may be preventing the water from draining. After the pipes are cleaned, and the water flows out, there would no longer be a leaking problem.
  • Finally, make sure that the air conditioner is installed correctly. If the indoor unit of the air conditioner is leaking water, but this water leakage cannot be explained, you should check whether its installation is correct or not. Especially if this problem is experienced right after the air conditioner is installed, it is recommended to contact the technical service that installed it directly.

Making an annual maintenance contract for the air conditioner always ensures safe use. Due to this contract, professional cleaners come every few months to service the air conditioner. Air conditioner filters are cleaned, clogged pipes are opened, and damaged parts are replaced. This will keep the air conditioner in good condition and avoid any water leaking problems. Therefore, the maintenance of the air conditioner should be done well and should be repeated periodically.

A leaking air conditioner should be repaired as soon as possible, regardless of the cause of the leak. Water damage can happen very quickly, and if the problem is detected late, it can cause permanent damage to the air conditioner and serious financial problems. Therefore, if the indoor unit of the air conditioner leaks water, but the cause cannot be identified, if there is any abnormality in it, you should seek assistance from the technical service as soon as possible.