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What Causes a Condensation Line to Leak from Your Air Conditioner

WAir conditioner problems are diverse and numerous. Understanding specific issues and how to troubleshoot them is essential. One of the most common issues you are likely to face at one point is a condensation leak. So, what makes condensation lines leak from your AC? Keep reading to find out more.

AC Unit Inspection & Repair

A Clogged Condensate Drain Line

This is probably the most common reason water may leak from your AC. Usually, the condensate drain line gets clogged with dirt and debris that pass through it. This dirt mixes with the moisture and ends up sticking on the side of the condensate drain line.
It gunk’s up and eventually hinders the condensation from passing through as before.

Consequently, the condensation will back up and flow backward, leading to an AC leak. This happens more often than many people want to appreciate. Cleaning the condensate drain line regularly could help eliminate such problems once and for all.

The AC Unit has Little Refrigerant

When the AC does not have enough refrigerant, the unit’s pressure lowers beyond normal and can easily cause leaks. This happens gradually and starts with the air being expelled. Usually, it will not be as cold as it was before.

The other thing with low refrigerant levels is that the evaporator coils tend to freeze up. These coils are behind the conversion of liquid from the AC into vapor. The AC unit expels and uses this vapor to cool the surrounding area.

On the flip of this situation, lacking enough refrigerant means nothing to power the coils to function as they should. The coils then start freezing over time. While this will be a significant issue or a deal-breaker at first, it becomes problematic when the temperatures increase and the ice heats up.

It melts and leaks into the AC, causing more complex issues that may trigger expensive repair and, in some cases, require the replacement of components. Make sure that your AC has enough refrigerant. If you suspect that something could be wrong, call the HVAC experts to test and refill the refrigerant to acceptable levels if it is running low.

Air Filter has Accumulated Quite a Lot of Dirt

The air filter could lead to air conditioner leaks. This seems strange since the two appear unrelated. However, the air filter can accumulate dirt and get clogged. This interferes with its normal functioning and affects the AC to power the evaporator coils. Consequently, the evaporator coils will freeze over time, just likely it happened with the low refrigerant issue. Clogged filters prevent sufficient airflow to the evaporator coils leading to freezing when it gets too cold.

Sadly, while the freezing of the evaporator coils may seem harmless at first, it is not advisable to let it happen continuously. Usually, the frozen coils get damaged in the long run, causing irreparable issues that may cause a need to replace the entire AC. Unless you have such a budget at your disposal every time, consider prevention first.

Damaged or Rusted Drain Pan

Damaged or rusted drain pans are common, especially if your AC is old. Depending on the severity of the damage, the drain pan issue is not a severe problem. It is easier if the drain pan has a superficial crack that can be sealed using a water sealant and a temporary solution. On the other hand, rough drain pans are trickier because the rust has eaten through the metal, making it almost impossible to salvage.

In most cases, such drain pans have holes through which water flows. You may want to consider replacing the drain pan. This will be an easy remedy if the auxiliary drain pan is affected. However, when the issue is with the primary and permanent drain pan, you have to call an HVAC professional to assist.

Tricks to Fix a Leaking AC

Now that you have a good understanding of what triggers AC leaks, you should explore solutions. These include the following:

1. Changing filters regularly to prevent dust and dirt accumulation

2. Cleaning your condensate drain as the need arises

3. Using the right drain pan

4. Using bleach in the drain pan every six months to kill algae and fungi that potentially clog it

5. Not overworking the AC when temperatures are hot outside.

General care and maintenance of the AC help prevent condensation line leaks. Do not overlook any symptoms and always call an expert for assistance.

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Customer Reviews

Called Absolute for my 81 year old landlord in the height of Summer heat. Scott came out to inspect the old beast of an AC and found many issues. He took the time to educate us, note everything, photograph it and provide several recommendations...and my stubborn landlord has done nothing LOL. A couple months later we asked that Scott come back out and he was there that same day.

Emily H.

Santa Ana, CA

I contacted Absolute Airflow to check my mother's AC, as it was not getting cold. The tech (Scott) arrived earlier than his scheduled time, and was very knowledgeable, professional, and most of very personable with my mother in letting her know that the issue was. Superb customer service Scott and thank you Absolute Airflow! I highly recommend Absolute Airflow.

Billy A.

Billy A.

Bellflower, CA

I have called in Absokite Airflow for my tankless water heater and A/C unit for maintenance. They were professional and took the safety precautions necessary including wearing a mask and cornering their shoes when entering my home. I recommend them highly. Shout out to Zack who took care of the tankless water heater.  They were professional and friendly.

Beatriz S.


Santa Fe Springs, CA

Carlos came to our house to access the A/C project and to give us an estimate. He was very knowledgeable and took his time to explain all the opinions in detail as well as the installation process and warranties. Tanner and Chris were the installers, they were very professional taking their time and attention to details. To keep our house clean while installing the new A/C system.

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Robert M.

Whittier, CA