Air Conditioners

Leaking Air Conditioner, What to Do?

Leaking Air Conditioner, What to Do?


Focus on the cause of a leaking air conditioner

Step 1: Open the air conditioner

Step 2: Empty and clean the condensate pan of the leaking air conditioner

Step 3: Unclog the condensate drain

Step 4: Check the air conditioner for proper drainage

A leaking air conditioner is an immediate cause for concern in your home. But don’t panic, your air conditioner is not damaged! It is only a malfunction of the drain. Solving this minor problem is within everyone’s reach.

Follow the explanations below to get your leaky air conditioner back in operation.

Focus on the cause of a leaking air conditioner

When an air conditioner leaks, the problem is on the discharge side.

Good to know: In this situation, we think immediately of a refrigerant gas leak. However, since the refrigerant is gaseous, it does not leak liquid.

Condensate formation and removal

When your air conditioner cools the air, it dries the air in the room by drawing out moisture.

This moisture condenses inside the unit and turns into droplets.

This water, loaded with impurities called condensates, is restored in a tank.

It is then evacuated through a small pipe, generally of small diameter, towards the general evacuation of the house.

Condensate overflow

Over time, condensate clogs the drain pipe.

This can cause the restoration pan to overflow.

If this type of leakage is not a sign of a malfunction in the air conditioner, it is advisable to intervene quickly.

Important: If the leak cannot be corrected immediately, turn off the unit to prevent the moisture from damaging the wall.

1. Open the air conditioner

Any work on the air conditioner requires that it be turned off. Disconnecting the fuse that supplies power to the unit from the electric meter is the safest way to do this.

To access the condensate pan, first, open the unit by removing the plastic cover on the front of the unit.

Remove the small screws that hold the plastic cover to the bottom of the unit. There are often three of them.

Gently tilt the cover forward. There are clips on the sides, so be careful not to damage them.

Place the cover on the floor securely.

Good to know: take care not to damage this plastic cover because it is generally quite expensive in the trade.

2. Empty and clean the leaking condensate tray of the air conditioner

Leaking Air Conditioner, What to Do?

Once the plastic cover is removed, you can access the condensate pan.

Locate the condensate pan

Locate the condensate pan located at the base of the unit.

If it is overflowing, empty it partially by scooping it with glass to not spill it all when you take the tray out of the appliance.

Good to know: the condensate in the water forms a gelatinous mass. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.

If the drip tray is empty, it is only because it is not positioned correctly and the liquid is not being poured into the right place.

Important: the pan should have a slight slope, about 2%, which leads the liquid to the drain.

Empty and clean the pan

Disconnect the drain hose from the pan.

Remove the condensate pan, which is simply placed in the air conditioner.

Empty it into your toilet.

Clean the condensate pan with water and a sponge.

3. Unclog the condensate drain pipe

The density of the condensate can cause the fluid to clog the drain pipe.

Use a small ferrule that fits the diameter of the drain pipe. In most cases, a 5-meter-long nozzle is sufficient.

Push the condensate with the brush to the main drain.

Good to know: add a little unclogging product to facilitate the operation if necessary.

4. Check that the air conditioner is draining properly

Replace the condensate pan and check that the drain is working properly.

Replace the empty condensate pan.

Connect the pan to the drain pipe.

Pour some water into the pan, and check that the slope leads to the drain pipe.

Pour a little more water to ensure it still flows into the drain pipe.

If the water does not escape from another part of the air conditioner, replace the plastic cover. The job is done!

Good to know: if all these steps seem tedious, do not hesitate to call a professional who can give you a perfect result.

Materials needed to put a leaking air conditioner back into operation

Water bottle

Sponge + Cloth


Chemical drain opener



Phillips screwdriver