Wondering how to repair a leaking air conditioner? Here's your step-by-step guide.

If you've been thinking about adding a central air conditioner to your home, you should first shop around and get an idea of air conditioner prices and warranty information. You should also have a basic idea of how to repair a leaking air conditioner, since leaking is a problem that you may encounter with any type of home cooling equipment.

You don't need to be an HVAC expert, but if you feel uncomfortable with doing small repairs and maintenance on your AC unit, then an HVAC contractor can help.

An air conditioner creates a significant amount of condensation that typically drains through a plastic or rubber drain tube and exits through a pump that pushes it outside or to another form of exterior drainage system.


An air conditioner could leak for a variety of reasons, including:

  • A damaged tube.
  • An obstruction.
  • A faulty pump.

central air condition

Here are the steps you can take to find and repair an air conditioner leak:

  • Examine all the tubes and look for any leaks. If you do find a leak, you can easily replace the leaking section with new tubing that can be purchased at an HVAC supply store or home improvement store.
  • If your unit has an electric condensate pump, make sure it is plugged into a working outlet. Pour water into its collector, and verify that it is working properly. This pump has a ball floating inside that rises and falls with the water level. It should turn on automatically when the water rises to a certain level. If the pump doesn't start, the ball float could be broken or stuck. Disconnect the ball float, disassemble it, and clean it out. If it's old or broken, replace it with a new one.
  • If the air conditioner pump is running, but the pan isn't emptying, the ball-like valve that is located right before the discharge tube is probably stuck. Unscrew this valve to see if there is any obstruction.
  • If it looks like the drain tube is clogged, remove the obstruction or cut the tube. Replace it with a new one. You may be able to clear out the clog by blowing into the tube or running a wire through it. If all else fails, make a mixture of one part bleach to 16 parts of water and pour it into the pump's trough so that it will pump through the tube to kill any algae.
  • The final step to repair a leaking air conditioner is to look for any ice that may be blocking the tube. This can be remedied by cleaning or changing the AC filters. If the filters look clean, check the refrigerant supply, which might be low. If it's low, you'll need an HVAC contractor to recharge the unit.

If you still have questions about how to repair a leaking air conditioner, you'd like to get an air conditioner estimate, or you need help learning how to install an air conditioner, QualitySmith can help. QualitySmith can provide you the names and contact information of experienced HVAC contractors in your area.