Clayton Burkhardt, founder of Streamline Air, working on an A/C unit that might be leaking water

Why is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water? 7 Reasons (Tips/Fixes)

Florida’s weather can’t be beat. To say it’s paradise is an understatement.

So, there’s nothing worse than coming home from a hot, Florida day only to find your A/C unit leaking water, and it’s boiling hot in your home.

“Why does my A/C unit leak water, and what can I do about it?” You might be asking. We feel your pain.

Not to worry, though. We have some answers we think you’ll like.

For more than 20 years, we’ve served 1,000 clients — and sold and repaired more than 15,000 HVAC units. We’re all about providing straightforward answers and simplified solutions.

Homeowners and businesses: if you’re wondering why your A/C unit leaks water, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll cover the 7 reasons why an A/C unit leaks water and what you can do about it to fix it.

Let’s dive in!

How A/C units work (and leak water)

Outdoor A/C units outside of an apartment building

Air conditioners leak water for a few reasons. With an A/C unit, as warm air blows over a series of coils inside the unit, the coils transfer the air to various parts inside and outside of the A/C unit.

During this process, condensation can appear (think: water drops on a cold glass of water on a hot day). As a result, water drops can form in, around, and outside of an A/C unit, and voila! An A/C unit starts to leak water.

The good news is that most times, fixing an A/C that’s leaking water is easy.

7 common causes on why A/C units leak water

Air Conditioner units on outdoor racks on a multi-level apartment building

The seven most common reasons an A/C unit may leak water include damage or issues with the following components:

  1. Frozen evaporator lines
  2. Leaking drain pains
  3. Damaged condensers
  4. Clogged condensate lines
  5. Broken condensate pumps
  6. Malfunctioning thermostats
  7. Refrigerant leaks

We’ll describe each of these in detail in the following sections.

1. A frozen evaporator coil

A Streamline Air A/C employee working on an outdoor air conditioner unit

One of the most common causes of an A/C unit leaking water is when an evaporator coil freezes. The reason an evaporator coil freezes is because an air filter is dirty or issues exist with airflow blowing over the coils.

If a coil doesn’t have enough warm air contacting the coils, ice forms. The good news is that fixing a frozen evaporator coil is possible.

To fix a frozen evaporator coil:

  • Check the air filter, and if it’s dirty, replace it.
  • Check that nothing is preventing air from moving in and around the A/C unit.
  • If after trying the above suggestions your evaporator coil is still frozen, try turning up the temperature on the thermostat. Doing so can help thaw the coils and prevent leaks.

If the coils haven’t thawed after trying the above three suggestions, we recommend giving a Florida HVAC repair team a call. They’ll have the tools and knowledge to resolve your issues before said issues become emergencies.

2. Damaged condenser

Also known as the outdoor A/C unit, the condenser helps release the heat from the indoor unit in the house. A damaged condenser can cause an A/C system to leak water.

If you notice cracks in the housing of or coolant leaking from your A/C unit, you may have a damaged condenser on your hands.

To fix a damaged condenser, you can replace the gasket or sealant. But, if the issue becomes more severe, you may have to replace the condenser itself.

If you need your A/C up and running fast, we recommend reaching out to an HVAC and/or cooling repair team for immediate support.

3. Thermostat malfunctions (and more)

An outdoor A/C unit

A malfunctioning thermostat also can cause an A/C to leak water. As we mentioned in the section above, if the evaporator coils become colder than their optimal temperature, the coils can freeze.

To fix a broken or malfunctioning thermostat, try the following simple solutions:

  • Check that the thermostat is set to its “cool” or “auto” function.
  • Once the thermostat is on the “cool” or “auto” function, turn the thermostat up a few degrees to help thaw the coils.

If the above solutions don’t fix your air conditioning leak, call an HVAC technician to troubleshoot the problem. An HVAC technician can help you determine the best course of action to prevent future issues with your air conditioning unit’s thermostat.

4. A/C unit is leaking refrigerant fluid

An AC unit leaking water

Another reason an A/C unit might leak water is because of refrigerant fluid. Refrigerant fluid can cause leakages if an HVAC unit doesn’t have enough refrigerant in its system.

Your air conditioning system might have a refrigerant leak if you notice any of the following:

  • Hissing and/or bubbling noises coming from the unit
  • Ice on evaporator coils
  • Water leakages

We’d be failing you as HVAC technicians if we didn’t mention that refrigerant leaks are dangerous. If you have low refrigerant fluid or notice refrigerant leaks, have an HVAC technician inspect your entire unit.

If you need to call a technician for emergency support, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for immediate emergency air conditioning repairs. We’ll make sure your unit is up and running in no time.

5. Clogged condensate lines could be the culprit

If you think condensate lines have something to do with condensation, you’re right. Condensate lines carry water and excess moisture buildup from the drain pan inside a home to the outside of a home.

If you have clogged condensate lines, water can back up and leak out of the drain pan.

To fix a clogged condensate line, consider the following solutions:

  • Pour a cup of diluted vinegar into the drain pain to clear your clogged condensate drain line.
  • Flush out the lines with clean water.
  • Check your air conditioner’s float switches for potential issues.
  • Use a wet or dry vacuum to suck the clog out of the lines (use this solution only if the above two solutions don’t unclog the drain lines.).

If you find the blockage persists, it’s best to call a professional. An HVAC professional has the knowledge, tools, and training to resolve clogged condensate lines with skill and ease.

6. Broken condensate pumps (and float switches)

An indoor A/C unit plugged into an outlet on a wall

If your air conditioner is leaking water, the issue could be with the condensate pumps. A condensate pump helps ensure water is pumped outside of the home. If the pump breaks, you’ll need to replace it to prevent water build-up in the home.

The solution is as simple as that.

7. Leaky or damaged drain pans

We saved one of the most important reasons for an A/C leaking for last. A drain pan collects the water that drips off the evaporator coils as the coils cool the air blown across them. If you have a cracked or damaged drain pan, the pan can leak water on the floor.

To fix a leaky drain pan, try the following:

  • Purchase a new drain pan
  • Call a professional who can repair the leak and prevent water damage inside your home.

Streamlined pro tip

When considering replacing parts of your HVAC system, you’ll want to seek out the advice of a professional. With more than 110 million air conditioner units in existence nationwide, it’s safe to say there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach when repairing an A/C system.

Asking your contractor the right questions will help you make a more informed decision for your A/C unit. At Streamline Air, we educate our clients so they can make the best decision for their home or business. Our master technicians are happy to help you with all your HVAC needs.

Infographic: 7 key reasons A/C units leak water

An infographic talking about why AC units leak water

A/C Leaking Water? Get Help from the Straightforward Professionals!

The Streamline Heating and Air logo

Water droplets: they’re not uncommon on an HVAC unit. But if you notice your air conditioner leaking water inside your home, you’ll want to note these reasons for an A/C leaking water. An A/C leaks water due to having:

  1. Frozen evaporator lines
  2. Leaking drain pans
  3. Damaged condensers
  4. Clogged condensate lines
  5. Broken condensate pumps
  6. Malfunctioning thermostats
  7. Refrigerant leaks

Seeking the help of a master HVAC technician will help you diagnose your issues. That’s where we come in.

Whether you need a new HVAC system, have issues with air filters, dirty air, or leaks around your air conditioning system, the Straightforward Professionals at Streamline Heating and Air can help you with all your air conditioning needs. With more than 20 years of experience under our belts, we’ve seen — and repaired — it all.

For a free estimate on your HVAC system, reach out to or call us today at (941) 356-6872! We’ll get you cool and comfortable in no time at all.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about A/C unit leaks

Two AC units stacked on top of each other

Why does water leak and form on my A/C unit?

Water forms around an A/C unit when heat is removed. As heat is removed, water condenses, leaving little droplets around the A/C unit.

The evaporator coils cool the warm air that passes over them. Dirty air filters — and cracked and broken parts — can cause an A/C system to leak water

The good news is that leakages — and drainages — are easy to fix.

How often should I service my A/C unit?

We recommend inspections and maintenance on your A/C unit at a minimum of two times per year — or every six months. In our hot and humid climate, you’ll want to service your A/C unit to prevent mold and rust build-up.

A regular service will make sure your A/C blows long and strong all year long.

When should I replace my A/C unit’s drain pans?

Most A/C units need a new drain pan every 12-15 years. But, depending on how often you use your unit, you may want to replace your drain pans sooner. For related reading on HVAC systems and A/C units, check out our helpful library of HVAC resources designed with you in mind.

Meet the Straightforward Professionals at Streamline A/C!

Related Articles