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Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking


Though the primary job of an air conditioner is to cool your home, this cooling process has a side effect—it works to remove moisture from the air. Unfortunately, this dehumidification process can encounter some issues, which you may notice if you see signs of condensation on the outdoor unit.

The Condensate Drain & its Purpose

Normally, the moisture that is removed from the air collects on the evaporator and drips down to a pan below it, known as the drip tray. From there, the water is directed to the condensate drain, which is a pipe that carries the water away to either your home’s drain system or to the outside of your home.

Problems with the evaporator, drip tray, or condensate drain can cause water to overflow from the drip tray and leak into your home. If it is just a tiny amount, it may simply be excess condensation, but large amounts indicate a problem with the condensate system.

Common Causes of Water Leaks

Large leaks from the condensate system can be caused by several problems, including:

  • A clogged condensate drain – This is the most common problem. Algae, dirt, and minerals can accumulate and cause a clog in the condensate drain, allowing water to back up and leak from the drip tray. Having the drain cleaned or blown out can often solve the problem.
  • A leaking condensate drain pipe – A cracked, loose, or broken condensate drain pipe can allow water to leak into your home. To repair the problem, have the damaged pipe or fitting replaced.
  • A leaking drip tray – Condensate drip trays are often made from galvanized steel, which can corrode over time and form a leak. Have the tray replaced to stop the leak.
  • A faulty condensate pump – When the condensate drain is higher than the drip tray, a pump must be used to empty the water from the tray. If this pump fails, the water can back up and leak. To repair the problem, have the condensate pump replaced.
  • A clogged air filter – Proper airflow over the evaporator is required to both cool your home and prevent ice from forming on the evaporator. A clogged air filter can allow the evaporator to freeze, and when it thaws, the water can overwhelm the drip tray and leak from the system. Replace the air filter to solve the problem. A duct obstruction can also cause similar problems.
  • Dirty evaporator coils – If large amounts of dust, pollen, pet hair, and other materials have accumulated on the evaporator, air will not be able to reach the coils, causing the evaporator to freeze. When it thaws, water can leak from the drip tray. Have the coils cleaned at least annually to prevent this problem.
  • Low refrigerant – If there is insufficient refrigerant in the system, the evaporator coil may freeze, causing a leak when it thaws. Have the system charged properly and checked for leaks.

If you cannot fix the problem yourself by removing duct obstructions or replacing the air filter, you will likely need the help of an HVAC professional for more extensive air conditioning repairs.

Air Conditioner Repairs in Milwaukee

For with a water leak from your air conditioner, call our team at Midwest Heating & Cooling. We offer air conditioning repairs throughout the Milwaukee area.

Call (414) 704-0129 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today!

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