June 26, 2017
By Mark Paup

There’s Water Leaking From My AC… What’s Wrong?

Updated January 23, 2024

As summer gets underway here in Des Moines and temperatures rise, the hum of air conditioners will become a fact of day-to-day life. Our HVAC technicians are here to see that you have an air conditioning system in Des Moines, IA, or any of the surrounding areas that are in the best shape. It starts with spring maintenance, and it continues with handling AC repairs as needed. We hope you don’t have to call us for an emergency repair, but if you do, we’re here 24 hours a day to come to your assistance. We understand that loss of cooling during a heatwave is a serious issue!

To see that you have repairs done fast to avoid the issue becoming larger and leading to further problems, keep a lookout for warning signs your AC is in trouble. One of these warnings is when you see water leaking from the indoor unit. If you’re familiar with window air conditioners, you’ll know they allow water to drip from their outdoor grill. This shouldn’t happen with the indoor unit of a central air conditioner, however!

Why There’s Water in the AC in the First Place

Before getting into what specifically might cause water to leak from an air conditioner, we’re going to explain why there’s water in an AC system.

If you listen to your central air conditioner as it runs, you’ll hear the occasional drip of water. This is normal: its condensates from the cooling process. The evaporator coil inside the indoor cabinet of an air conditioner gathers water moisture from the air as the cold refrigerant in the coil and fins evaporates. During especially humid days, a great deal of water moisture can build up on the coil and fins. The water drips off the coil and down into a condensate pan beneath it. A pump then draws the water down through a drain and out into the wastewater system, keeping the water from getting into the house where it will be creating water damage and a rise in humidity.

Why Water Can Start to Leak from the Unit

The removal of water condensate can go wrong in several ways, leading to water leaking from the AC’s indoor unit.

  • The condensate drain is blocked – The drain that removes the water can develop algae inside it—a common problem in high humidity—that will slow the drain and eventually clog it. It won’t take long for the pan to overflow since it’s only about an inch deep.
  • Broken drain pump – An electrically powered pump is responsible for drawing the water down the drain. The motor in the pump can burn out, stopping drainage. Usually, the pump will have to be replaced.
  • Corrosion along the pan and drain – Corrosion in the pan can cause the drain to loosen or lead to holes, allowing water to escape. The pan or drain will need to be replaced. This also may be a sign it’s time for an air conditioning replacement.

Please don’t let an AC simply continue to leak water! An overflowing drain pan can lead to the system shutting off. Get in touch with Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical right away and we’ll have the trouble fixed.

Contact Us Today for HVAC Service!

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