Why Your Air Conditioner Is Leaking (And What To Do Next)

Worried about the drip-drip-drip of your air conditioner? An air conditioner leaking should never be ignored, so let's run through everything you need to know.
Have you traced that drip-drip-drip to your normally trusty air conditioner?  In a state like Queensland, in a country like Australia, the sight and sound of an air conditioner leaking can be pretty disturbing - not just because you need to stay cool & snug, but because replacing it will cost you an arm and a leg.

Water leaking from air conditioner?

But first things first: Why is your air conditioner leaking water in the first place?  Unfortunately, it's a pretty long list:  
  • Blocked filter: Your air conditioner features an air filter, and if it gets clogged up, the flow of air is disturbed and can cause condensation that ultimately drips.
  • Faulty pump: Another common fault is a malfunctioning condensation pump, whose task is to rid the unit of any condensation that can leak and drip.
  • Leaky condenser coil: When located outside your house, the condenser unit can get dirty and affect the functioning of the coil, compressor and motor.
  • Clogged drain/condensation line: Debris but also mould is the most common reason for a blocked up drain line, which affects the removal of water from the unit.  This is particularly troublesome in tropical climates like Queensland.
  • Bad installation: Whoever installs your air conditioner needs to know about proper configuration for the balance of temperatures within the unit.
  • Poor maintenance: We recommend regular cleaning but also professional servicing and maintenance of your unit - especially the evaporator coil which is prone to rust.
  • Low refrigerant: Low levels of refrigerant can drive up system pressure, resulting in evaporator coil malfunction and overflowing into the drip tray.
  • Blocked drains: Your air conditioner may be connected to your home or roof's drainage system, but if that's blocked then the collected excess will have nowhere to go.
  But we'll be honest - there are many more causes of an aircon leaking water than that!  The really important thing is to listen and learn from the earliest signs of an aircon leak in order to stop it from getting worse - and causing a lot of damage or complete (and expensive) system failure.   Watch out for:  
  • Stain marks
  • Damaged plaster
  • Bubbling paint
  • Pooling water.

What's next for your leaking air conditioner?

If all you're seeing or noticing is a drip or two now and then, there's probably nothing to worry about - that's fairly normal (especially in a humid climate).  But if that drip-drip-drip is becoming constant or obviously a problem, here's what to do next:

1. Check the filters

These should be clean, undamaged and unclogged.  With a bit of luck, a thorough rinse could be all they need.

2. Check the pipes

We're referring specifically to the drainage pipes, which may be blocked - preventing water from efficiently running out in a controlled way.

3. Check the unit/installation

In so many cases, the problem has been caused either by poor installation in the first place, or a lack of routine maintenance causing a problem with the unit that now requires professional attention from your local air conditioning expert.
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