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Why Do Air Conditioners Drip Water?

Air conditioners have become one of the essential home appliances in the modern world. During summer, you may need to run it all the time to keep your home comfortable and well ventilated. However, over time your air conditioner may develop issues due to constant usage, lack of proper maintenance, and changing weather. Such factors could lead to the malfunctioning of your cooling device.

Air conditioners drip water in their ordinary functioning. However, dripping in the wrong place or excessive dripping could be due to mechanical or installation problems. It is always an indication of an issue that needs immediate fixing for your appliance to function optimally. 

This article examines in detail the question, why air conditioners drip water, the causes of excessive dripping, and how to fix them. Read on to learn more.

Why do airconditioners drip water

Reasons Why Air Conditioners Normally Drip Water?

The cooling coils in the air conditioner absorb moisture in the room, and the water vapor in the air cools into liquid and collects on the appliance’s cold surfaces. Factors such as humidity, temperature, size of the unit, efficiency, and installation will determine the dripping water volume.     

Typically, when the air conditioner is running, the condensed water should drip from the back. Water should drip from the cooling coil into coils angled to the back of the appliance. Some of the water is utilized to cool heating coils in the unit, and most will drip out of the air conditioner. 

Causes of Air Conditioners Dripping Excess Water

There are many reasons ‍why an air conditioner may leak or drip too much water, and most of them could be due to malfunctioning. Other causes could be a poor installation of the unit.

Leaking Air

Leaking air is among the most common causes of air conditioners dripping water. Typically, in a properly functioning appliance, air reaching the air conditioner must pass through the vent. Therefore, an AC that has developed a problem could have air leakage. The air doesn’t pass through the vent as required, leading to a suboptimal functionality. 

You may need to do some basic troubleshooting to determine if there is an air leak around the vent through the grates. The easiest way is to examine the equipment for any leakage, and you may need to fix the problem to prevent further leaks in the future.

Blocked Filter of the Air Conditioner

Blocked or clogged filters are also one of the common reasons for air-con dripping water. Whenever the air filters get clogged, it tampers with the flow of air in the system. As a result, the air is frozen, and when the appliance is turned off or when the desired temperature is reached, ice formed on the filters starts to melt. This water finds its way out of the air conditioner. 

Besides, any obstruction of air could carry dirt to the evaporator coil and significantly affect the coil’s heat absorption. Using a clogged or dirty filter can increase energy consumption by as much as 5% to 15%

Why do airconditioners drip water

Faulty Condensation Pump

A condensation pump refers to a device found beneath the cooling coil. Its function is to drain out water as much as possible to prevent dripping and leakages. If the pump is faulty due to dirt accumulation or if it’s broken, then the air conditioner could drip water.    

Improper Installation

If your air conditioner was not installed properly, this could be one reason to drip water. You need to ensure that the front part is cooler compared to the rear section, and this is an indication that it drains water properly and will not drip or leak. 

Your appliance needs to be installed with proper inclination to prevent dripping and leakage. A wrong inclination may lead to your unit failing to drain water properly. 

A Frozen Air Conditioner Coil

The interior of your air conditioner has an evaporator coil. Typically, an evaporator needs to be cold and not frozen. In a properly functioning air conditioner, it should extract heat from the airflow that passes through the coil and not be frigid to the extent of producing ice. However, the presence of ice on the air conditioner coil can trigger even more ice until the whole coil is covered in a block of ice. 

Damage may result because the blower fan is straining to pull air through the coil that is now obstructed by ice leading to overheating. When this ice starts to melt, it drips and could even leak. A frozen air conditioner could be a result of an air filter that’s not working correctly.  

Poor Maintenance

Air conditioners, like most home appliances, require timely and proper maintenance. You’re required to clean the unit regularly and seek the services of a professional when needed. You may also check if the evaporator coil is working correctly to ensure it has not started to rust. If the maintenance is not carried out regularly, the appliance may start dripping as an indication of a problem.  

Clogged Condensation Line

An air conditioner works by sucking humid and warm air and blowing it over the frozen pipes. The coils are typically cold because they are filled with cold refrigerant, and therefore, the vapor moisture in the air is condensed on the cold coil and turns to liquid water. If this water is not drained and collected correctly, the air conditioner will drip.  

If the drip pan is overflowing or full, it is a cause of concern. Besides, if the area is rusted, you need to call a professional handler. 

Why do airconditioners drip water

How to Fix a Dripping Air Conditioner?

If you want to fix your air conditioner that has an issue of dripping water, it is essential to take steps such as dusting and cleaning the condensate drain, the exterior, and interior coils. The following are some of the tips that can be followed:

Dusting and Cleaning of Condensate Drain

‍The condenser is responsible for sucking hot air from the room, cools the air, and releases the cool air. The hot air is condensed and becomes water, and the water is drained through the condensate drain system. Lack of regular maintenance may lead to the accumulation of dust and dirt, leading to the drain lines’ choking. The following are some of the steps you can follow:

  • As a safety precaution, always shut down and unplug the unit
  • To locate the condensate drain, unscrew the access panel
  • Confirm if water on the pan is overflowing
  • Wash the pan with a piece of cloth.

You can use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the clog in the drain line. It’s advisable to start working from the endpoint of the drain opening found outside of the house. This approach ensures you can clean all the dirt, debris, and molds in the drain. This way, you can eliminate the possibility of sending the dirt back to the drainpipe.

Alternatively, you may use a high-pressure suction pump that can suck anything clogging the pipe. If you hear anything, move through the pipeline into the canister, you have probably cleared the clog. It may become difficult for you to clean if it has sharp turns and curves. You may need to contact a professional who can use more specialized equipment to unclog in such a situation.

The next step you’re required to do is:

  • Pour vinegar solution into the drain pipes
  • Let the solution sit for about one hour to remove all the stubborn rust and dust in the drain pipes.

Lastly, use clean water to flush out the drain pipe. It would help if you started at the top of the pipe because this will ensure it flows throughout the pipe. However, to ensure a proper process, you may need the services of a professional.

Here is a video explaining how to clean and unclog your condensate drain

Clean the Exterior and Interior of the Coils

The exterior coils include the condenser coil while the interior coil includes the fan and evaporator coils. To clean the evaporator, you need to ensure it’s always turned off, and it is unplugged from the power source. You need to remove the front cover using a screwdriver and use a vacuum machine. 

A brush is also good for the job. However, you need to be cautious because the evaporator coils’ aluminum fins are fragile, and they could easily be damaged or bent while cleaning.

To access the fan, you need to open the indoor chassis and use a suitable spray solution to clean it. Leave for about 15 minutes and rinse using warm water. Allow all water to drain off entirely before rinsing again. Ensure everything is completely dry before returning it to their position.

Condenser coils are cleaned using a brush to remove grease, grime, and dirt. You need a good cleanser and, once done, use clean water to rinse. 


Your air conditioner could drip water because it is faulty, lacks regular maintenance, or was installed inappropriately. You can fix some of the minor problems, while others may need the skills of a professional. Always take precautions to ensure your appliance is not switched off and unplugged from power before opening. Similarly, some parts are fragile and could easily be damaged in the cleaning process.


  • Alanna Greene

    Alanna is an avid traveler who lives in Michigan. In addition to writing for Temperature Master, he also sells crafts on Etsy and takes long walks through the forests near her home.

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