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Why Do Air Conditioners Leak Water?

Posted on The Cooler Blog January 7, 2014

Contrary to popular belief, the primary job of an air conditioner is not to pump cool air into a warm space, but rather to remove moisture from it.  The amount of water these units capture depends on the humidity content of the air, the size and operating efficiency of the system, and whether or not it was correctly installed.  In most cases, air conditioners leak because everything doesn’t work perfectly all the time.  Finding the source of the leak, however, can be incredibly complicated.  Here are the most common reasons why an air conditioner loses water.

1. Improper installation

When an air conditioner is installed lower at the rear than the front, the water that is captured from the room will not drain to the back of the machine.  Instead, it will accumulate, overflow, and spill out of the system on the inside.

2. Icing up

When there is a problem with the cooling system, the water that is being dehumidified and taken out of a room can turn to ice, often because the setting is too low. When this happens, ice may form on the cooling coils, which can cause them to operate inefficiently.

3. Drain hole blocked

All air conditioners have drain holes that allow the water that is captured in a hot room to escape during regular operation.  When this drain becomes blocked, the water will overflow back into the system, causing serious issues that may require professional service.


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