Why Is My AC System Leaking Water Outside?

When the weather starts to get uncomfortably hot outside, most of us want to turn to our AC for comfort and relief. But while cranking up the AC can give us a much-needed break from the heat, most homeowners also want to save on air conditioning during the summer. That’s why it’s so important to know the signs of an AC that’s working too hard (or hardly working.) Even if you’ve had your AC unit recently serviced by Bradley Mechanical, you’ll want to keep an eye out for any odd behavior on the part of your machine. While some issues are clearly troublesome, such as clanking, hissing, and banging sounds, others are a bit harder to figure out. If you’ve noticed water leaking outside of your unit, you might start to get concerned that there could be a problem brewing. Don’t panic: There are a few reasonable explanations for what you’re experiencing. Before calling up your mechanic, here are a few things you should know about your AC unit when it starts to leak.

Dirty Filters

One of the prime suspects of leaking AC units (not to mention a few other common AC issues) is a dirty, overused filter. Your AC unit comes with a filter that helps bring cleaner air to your home by weeding out and trapping dirt, dust, and pollen particles inside the machine. However, when the filter isn’t cleaned or replaced often enough, it could not only create a much dirtier airflow, it could start affecting how your unit actually functions. Anytime a blockage is caused in your unit, whether by dirt, dust, or a loose screw, your machine has to work that much harder to do its job. Not only will your machine start working way harder to produce less air, this will cause your evaporator coil to freeze, which will, in turn, cause your machine to leak on the outside. If it’s a few drips, it’s not a huge deal. However, you want to make sure you’re changing your filters regularly to avoid this issue before it snowballs into a larger problem.


Air filters aren’t the only cause for blockage in your unit. A block can be caused by a broken part, a moldy path, a caught insect, or a bit of dirt in the way. Once your drainage line gets blocked, your unit has to work harder and will once again end up causing the inner coil to freeze and leak. If the problem isn’t addressed, your leak could become larger as time goes on. One way to prevent blockage is to take a look inside your machine to make sure everything looks like it should. Try familiarizing yourself with how your unit should look ideally. While you might have to do a bit of digging to find the actual blockage point, you’ll still be able to see when a piece is missing, broken, or rusty. You’ll also be able to get a sense of when your filter needs replacing.


While you might want to keep using your AC until mid-September during an especially hot year, your AC will start losing its effectiveness once the temperature outside starts dropping. For instance, if you’re trying to cool down a room with an internal temperature of 70 degrees when it’s only 72 degrees outside, your machine might end up working too hard for its own good. When temperatures drop past 60, your machine will end up with a frozen condenser coil once more, causing your unit to leak out the back. If you’re trying to cool down the room (and save some money) when the temperature is below 60, consider using a fan instead.

Installation Issues

Sometimes, a lead outside your machine means a poor installation job. If you’ve had your unit professionally installed, you’re most likely not facing this problem. However, if you tried to do the installation yourself and ended up not doing the best job of it, you could have ended up installing your unit in a way that puts it on an angle rather than keeping it level. This could put undue pressure on a certain element of your unit, causing a leak or a frozen condenser coil. It could also cause danger for you and the rest of your household, especially if you’re on a higher floor and don’t have an external support system to keep your unit in place. If you don’t think your unit was installed correctly, don’t waste any time: Call a professional to help out immediately.



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