What Does a A/C Unit Dripping Water Outside Mean?

Your air conditioner should be designed so that it doesn’t leak inside your home. As hot air blows across the cooling coil inside your air conditioner, it will create condensation; however, that condensation should fall into a drip pan, which will drain into a specific drain line that leads outside your house. If your air conditioner is dripping or leaking inside your house, it could cause moisture and mold to build up in your home, which could cause a serious problem.

Why is your air conditioner dripping water?

The good news is, there are four main causes of an air conditioner leaking–and in many cases, a DIY fix will help you get your air conditioner running smoothly again.


Updated: March 23: 2023

Reason #1: Your Drain Line is Clogged

The drain line is designed to help carry any dripping from condensation out of your home. If the drain line is clogged, however, you may find that it can no longer safely carry that liquid outside the home–and as a result, it may back up and drip in unexpected places. Mold, dirt, and dust can all clog your drain line over time, particularly if you aren’t changing your air filters regularly.

How to Fix a Clogged Drain Line

Are you dealing with a clogged drain line from your air conditioner? The good news is, it’s a fairly easy fix! Use a wet/dry vac to remove the debris. Sometimes, your wet/dry vac may not be strong enough to take care of the damage, especially if it’s built up over a long period of time. In those cases, you may want to call in professionals. If the floor drain is clogged we would use and auger to clear it. If the condensate line is clogged we can use compressed air to unclog the condensate line.

Reason #2: Your Evaporator Coil Has Frozen/Iced Over

The evaporator coil helps cool the air coming into the air conditioner. It needs to be cold in order to perform its basic job function, but it’s not supposed to be frozen or iced over. If you can see a layer of frost or ice on your evaporator coil, it could indicate a more serious problem with your AC unit. Evaporator coil freezing can be caused by:

  • A lack of airflow around the coil, often because of a filter that has become clogged by dust and debris
  • Low refrigerant levels, which can occur naturally over time
  • Trying to run the temperature in your home too cold, which results in the air conditioner working too hard

Not only can frozen evaporator coils cause your air conditioning unit not to work as well, but they may also put a great deal of stress on the unit as a whole, as it continues to run and try to cool your home. In some cases, it could cause your compressor to die, which could require serious repairs.

How to Fix a Frozen Evaporator Coil

If you have a frozen evaporator coil, you may want to bring a technician out to look at it as soon as possible. Frozen coils or dirty coils can cause a lot of problems for your unit–and if you let the problem continue, you can end up with expensive repair bills. Start by replacing your air filter and turning up the temperature in your home a little to give the unit time to get back to its usual functionality. If that fixes the problem, great! On the other hand, if you’re struggling with frozen evaporator coils, an HVAC technician may need to refill your coolant to raise your refrigerant levels, patch a refrigerant leak, or conduct other repairs on the unit. The longer it continues to run in bad conditions, the more unnecessary stress it will put on the unit as a whole, and the greater the odds that it will cause severe damage to your compressor.

Reason #3: You Have Dirty Filters

Dirty air filters may not seem like they could lead to leaking water, but the truth is, they can cause serious problems with your entire unit. Dirty filters restrict airflow, which can lead to a host of problems, from frozen evaporator coils to water leakage.

How to Fix a Dirty Air Filter

Ideally, you should replace your air filters every 30 days. Regular replacement can help you avoid costly problems, from air conditioner leaks and dripping water to more stress on your unit. As a bonus, new air filters can also help improve indoor air quality.

Is It Normal for My Air Conditioner to Leak Water Outside?

Leaking water inside is a sign that there may be something wrong with your air conditioner, and you should deal with it promptly. Water dripping inside can cause mold and other issues, and AC manufacturers take steps to avoid that kind of damage. On the other hand, water leaking outside may be part of the normal function of your air conditioner. Air conditioners produce condensation as a part of their normal functioning. A little water dripping outside is perfectly normal. However, if you notice a large quantity of excess water or a sudden change in the amount of water produced by your air conditioner, even though the temperature hasn’t changed, you may want to have a technician come out and take a look.

Do You Need AC Repair Services?

If you’re having trouble with your AC unit, we can help. From water leaks to dirty air filters, problems with condensate pumps to a damaged drain pipe/condensate drain, we can help you figure out how to avoid water damage in your home. Contact us today to schedule your tune-up appointment.

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