Why do Air Conditioners Drip?

A/Cs cool your home by conditioning the indoor air and reducing the humidity. It works thanks to the air conditioners cooling coil or evaporators absorbing moisture from the air. The airborne water vapour cools into liquid form then collects on cold surfaces in the ac unit, ergo condensation and dripping. 

How much air conditioners drip will depend on factors like the current humidity level, temp and the size of the unit. It should be a drip though any more than a drip needs attention asap. The water drips from the back of the unit and if it is not dripping it means the air conditioner cannot dehumidify the air. And if its dripping water anywhere other than the back of the unit then there is also an issue that needs attention. 

Should Water Leak From the Evap System?

If your evaporative cooling is a constant bleed system it will have a constant water flow when the pump is operating. When the system is installed it will have the flow rate set, if you are unsure and think too much water is being dumped then call us out and we can check it for you. 

Other evap coolers only let water out at certain times. It will reach a certain level then dump out the water and replace with fresh water via the inlet valve. It is not always the same for example water is used dependant on temp, humidity, wind and fan speed. 

So, yes your evap cooler is supposed to leak water. But if it is not leaking water, leaking too much water or leaking in the wrong spot then this is an issue. 

Troubleshooting and Fixing Air Conditioner Leaks

Drainage Pipes – A lot of ac units have a spot where pipes can be fixed to drain out the excess water. These types of models will have a spout in the back, which can be emptied by attaching a pipe that fits and is long enough to drain the water. You can attempt this yourself as long as the pipe is long enough and you are confident. Otherwise, just give us a call. 

Condensation Tray – The drip tray is mostly found at the bottom of the unit. If you have to disassemble the ac to find it – stop and call us. A lot of damage can happen and you will also void any warranty. Once you locate the drip tray it should be easy enough to slowly remove and empty. If you find you are having to empty the drip tray more than once a week that indicates a problem and you will need to get in one of our plumbers to fix it. Leaving it will only make problems bigger and lead the air conditioner breaking down.

Caulk and Seal – Water dripping from the side or front might be caused by air leaking. If this is the case then hot air is causing dripping when it enters and hots the cool air. This can be fixed by caulking and sealing the air conditioner.

Ice – If you see the water is freezing and not dripping then the air conditioner needs servicing. It could mean the drains are blocked and needs a professional plumber. 

Clogged Condensation Drain – The most common cause of water leaking from your AC into the home is from a clogged drain. It can become clogged over time with dust, dirt and mould. We recommend calling in the professionals and get one of our plumbing team to fix this rather than DIY. This can be a serious issue especially dealing with mould. We have the right tools for this job also, it’s not something you will have lying around at home. 

Broken condensate pump – Depending on the age of your unit the condensation pipe may be rusted or damaged and the water is not being drained to outside. We can replace the pump and have the unit working again. 

Dirty air filter – A dirty air filter will block the airflow over the evaporator cooler and this will make the evap coil too cold and result in it freezing over. Then it will melt and drip all the water into the pan which is too much for it to hold and it leaks. To fix this just check your air filter and change it if it’s dirty. And remember to change it every 3 months at least. 

Call Harley Plumbing to fix your leaking air conditioner.

1300 768 457


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    We’ve used Harley plumbing 4 times now. Major repair of evaporative air con, 2 heating services and recently a full heater replacement. Very impressed. Always on time, explanations given, polite, friendly, knowledgeable staff (including office staff). We would definitely recommend them and will continue to use them.

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    Service: Heating system repair

    Impressed with Harley Plumbing! A friendly and efficient business - had a quote for me very quickly using photos taken by me (rather than requiring initial call out in person) and got installation of our replacement hot water unit done within 48 hours. All members of the team were very friendly! Thanks Ryan and Travis! :) Anna

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    Service: Water heater installation

    These are the best plumbers by far. Harley Plumbing installed a new ducted heater within a day. Jamie's skill and attention to detail with this installation were impressive.
    I also had Lachlan do some general plumbing, and also found him to be very skilled and personable as well.
    Thankyou guys.

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    Services: Faucet repair, Toilet repair, Installation

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