Can We Use AC When Water Is Leaking?

One common question that a lot of people ask is whether a leaking AC is dangerous. If you’re among the list of people that wonder about this issue, then today is your lucky day because that’s what I’m going to discuss in this post. 

It’s usually scary when the unknown happens, such as a leaking air conditioner. This can make you start thinking about awful outcomes and end up in a panic mood. However, you don’t need to worry at all when this happens because it’s not dangerous to have a leaking AC.

You can continue to use the AC unit when water is leaking, but you shouldn’t wait too long to get that issue fixed. You need to call for a professional technician to come and handle the issue and ensure everything is working perfectly.

So, What Could Be the Issue?

When you have a leaking air conditioner, there is a higher chance that it could be water leaking out of it. It is common for water to drip from HVAC systems due to clogged or disconnected drain lines.

Some of the other things that may cause an AC to leak water include a cracked or overflowing drip pan or a frozen evaporator coil. These are some of the well-known and common factors that may cause your AC to leak water.

There is also a chance that your air conditioner may leak refrigerant – the liquid that is used to cool your home’s air, although this is quite rare. It is dangerous for an air conditioner to leak refrigerant because when this liquid evaporates it can become gas, which is quite hazardous.

Therefore, when you notice that your AC is leaking, it’s best to find out whether it’s water or refrigerant and then call a professional to come and fix the issue.

How Does Water Leak in an Air Conditioner?

The inside of an air conditioner contains the evaporator coil, which is used to cool the warm air that is blown over it. When that happens, it causes condensation or moisture to form on the coil, similar to how water droplets form on a cold glass of water during a hot day. 

This moisture that is formed on the coil drips into a drain pan, and then down a condensate drain line leading out of your home. This drain line is also known as the white PVC pipe.

Causes of Water Leakage in an Air Conditioner

1. The Clogging of a Condensate Drain Line

The most common cause of water leakage in an air conditioner is a clogged condensate drain line. If the drain line of your AC happens to be clogged with dirt, dust, or mold it makes the water back up into your home. This means that you’ll need to unclog it. You can use a wet or dry VAC on the condensate line to unclog the drain line of your air conditioner. 

A good alternative is to call a professional to come and unclog. The reason why it’s important to call a professional to do the work is that they use a special vacuum to suck the blockage material out, which makes the process efficient and reliable.

2. When the Condensate Pump is Broken

If your indoor air conditioner and furnace are installed in the basement, then you need to know that there is a condensate pump that pumps the water outside. However, if the pump happens to break, the water won’t be pumped outside anymore. That means you will need to repair or replace that pump. This is another cause of water leakage in your AC.

3. Dirt in the Air Filter

If your air filter is dirty, then it can also cause your air conditioner to leak. This is because a dirty air filter can easily block the airflow over the evaporator coil, which may make it become too cold and freeze over. So, when this frozen water melts, the excess amount of water may drip out of the pan since it’s unable to handle it.

How to Tell If Your Air Conditioner Is Leaking Water

There are several ways that you can tell if your air conditioner is leaking water. These ways include:

  • Full condensate pan – This is not something that you can empty often.
  • When you notice water damage such as water spots that may be near the unit or on the fan, or even close to the floor.
  • When the entire house has a moldy smell.
  • You can also check for a drip and if you find one, then it’s a sure sign that your air conditioner is leaking.

It is crucial to note that when an air conditioner is leaking, there is a higher chance that it’s a clogged drain. If you want to ensure that your AC is functioning properly and offers you the best performance is to conduct regular maintenance on it. The regular maintenance includes annual tune-ups and using high-quality filters to prevent particulate matter from entering the air.

How to Tell When Your AC Is Leaking Refrigerant

As I mentioned earlier, when your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, then it’s very dangerous. Therefore, it’s best to understand how you can tell this. 

The first thing you need to do when you notice your AC is leaking is to find where it’s coming from. If you check closely and find out that the liquid is leaking from your evaporator coil, then it’s highly likely that it’s the refrigerant leaking. If this is so, you need to call an experienced technician to come and fix the issue to eliminate the danger.


To answer the question “can we use AC when water is leaking,” we first had to expound and learn all that I’ve provided in this post to clearly see the precautions you need to take and the dangers of an air conditioner that is leaking refrigerant. 

Therefore, it’s not bad to use an AC that is leaking but you should call an expert immediately to fix the issue so that you can be on the safe side.

If you have any questions or insights to add to this post, you can send them in the comments section or send me an email.