Leaking AC Unit?

AC Unit
Credit: MorgueFile.com

Quick Checklist to Find Your AC Leak

5 Common Causes of AC Leaks

AC UnitCredit: MorgueFile.com

The past three apartments I’ve lived in have all had leaking AC units during the summer months. Around July or August, there would always be a small puddle of water around the closet that housed my AC unit. I assumed this leaking was common, or simply a result of me running my AC unit too low -- I like my apartment cold. But this past summer, I finally got fed up with stepping in water puddles immediately after putting on fresh socks for the day. I began researching online what was causing the issue. What I found surprised me. Most AC fixes are relatively simple and don’t require a call to a maintenance crew or HVAC expert. In fact, there are a few things you can do to minimize the likelihood of the AC unit from leaking in the first place. Obviously there are a few scenarios that will require a call to maintenance, but here are a few quick checks for you to look into.


  1. Are your PVC condensation valves glued together? – This was my problem this last time. An AC unit can pump out anywhere from a gallon to five gallons of water every hour. This amount of condensation puts a fair amount of pressure on the drainage spot, and can cause poor seals to become exposed. Condensation running off the machine is typically diverted through PVC pipes to a drainage sewer on your floor. Find this PVC network and check to see if the pipes have been properly affixed with glue. If you see condensation on the bottom of any of the PVC, there is a high likelihood that this is your problem.
  2. Is your PVC condensation outlet clogged? – In most PVC valves there will be an opening above the portion that flows directly to the ground (designed  for you to check for clogs.) A lot of times there will be a screw off cap, or a slide off cap over this portion you may have to remove to check. Grab a cup of water and see if it flows freely through the pipe. If it doesn’t, this backup is what is causing your leak. Use pipe cleaners, or hot bleach water to free the PVC of the clog. In fact, it is good practice to run a warm cup of diluted bleach water down these pipes monthly to keep them clean.
  3. Is the condenser pump working? – In most AC units, after popping off the front cover of the unit you will see a pan of water under the condenser pump. You can check to see if this pump is broken by pouring a small cup of water into the pan to see if the pump is able to syphon the water from the pan. If the water is not removed by the pump, it is likely broken. Unfortunately, this will probably require a call to your HVAC professional.
  4. Is you unit level? – Sometimes AC units are improperly installed from the onset. Use a level to see if your AC unit was properly installed. If the unit is not level, this can cause condensation to run off improperly, and oftentimes on the floor around the unit. Call your HVAC professional to see if they can walk you through a fix, or they might need to be dispatched to help you fix your unit.
  5. Is your drain clogged? – This problem will be discovered by following the same process in point #2. If this is your problem, you may be able to snake the drain, or you may need to call a professional.


I hope this guide will help you find the source of your AC leak without having to call a professional! My hope is for everyone to maintain fresh, dry socks all summer long.