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Why Is My Window AC Leaking Water From The Front? [Most Common Causes]

If you own a window air conditioner, you've probably run into this situation before: water is leaking out and coming down the front of the unit instead of the rear. We have researched this problem on the web and found an easy fix for this.

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Your AC unit is leaking water from the front because it's not slightly tilted to the rear. Other causes include a clogged drain line, a dirty air filter, and low refrigerant levels.

If you're experiencing a small drip or slow trickle on your AC unit, it's just condensation, and it's normal. However, you don't want any of these in your room! Keep reading as we provide helpful tips for making sure your AC unit drains water effectively.

Outdoor Window Air Conditioning Units on an Old Brick New York City Apartment Building during Spring, Why Is My Window AC Leaking Water From The Front? [Most Common Causes]

Why Is Water Dripping From My Air Conditioner?

Have you ever been sitting near your air conditioning system and noticed a steady stream of water dripping from your unit? If so, you probably don't need to panic. 

This is a common occurrence and nothing to worry about. In most cases, you'll only need to make sure that the drain pipe that's connected to the evaporator is clear of any debris or obstructions.

You'll also want the drain pan that collects the moisture to be cleaned out and in good shape, as cracks can allow water to leak into your unit.

The moisture is coming from the condensation that forms on your evaporator coil, which is a component of your air conditioning system.

Condensation happens because the expansion valve is seated next to the evaporator coil, causing the air temperature to go down. This has been considered a major flaw of the present air conditioner design that is being remedied by the drain pan and drain pipe. 

What To Do If Water Is Leaking From The Front Of Window AC?

If you have just installed a brand new window air conditioner and you notice that water is leaking out of the front of it, there is a very good chance that you might need to change the unit's orientation.

Readjusting your air conditioning unit can help prevent leaks from dripping in the wrong direction. By slightly tilting the unit to the back, the condensation will run through the drain line instead of dripping from the front and causing a puddle.

As a general rule, it must be tilted at least half an inch to the rear to allow water condensate to drain away from the evaporator coils.

Other Possible Causes Why Water Is Leaking From Your Air Conditioner

On the other hand, if your air conditioner unit has been around for quite some time, it may have developed issues that need immediate attention, which include:

Low Refrigerant Levels

A steady and sufficient refrigerant supply keeps the pressure in your air conditioning system stable. The refrigerant level is directly proportional to the pressure in your AC system.

This means that if the refrigerant level goes down, the same goes for the pressure. When the pressure becomes too low, the evaporator becomes frosty. As a result, excess water will drip more than usual.

Clogged Drain Line

Drain lines run beneath the air conditioner and evaporator coils, and they're responsible for draining away any water that forms on the coils during operation.

They are a vital part of the system, but they are also known to get clogged, which causes the air conditioning system to operate inefficiently.

When a drain line is clogged, water inside the line can freeze. The excess water that you see leaking from your AC unit is caused when the ice melts. 

Dirty Air Filter

When your air conditioner's air filter is dirty, you can have trouble maintaining the correct air pressure. If the air filter becomes clogged, the airflow restriction will allow for the indoor air temperature to drop.

As a result, your cooling system's evaporator coil will get colder. If the evaporator coil gets colder, it will begin to freeze.

If your air conditioner is freezing up, you might notice ice build-up on the coils. The real problem starts when the ice melts.

Hvac maintenance technician removing a diry air filter from a heat pump

How To Improve Drain Flow Of Window AC 

Air conditioning systems tend to accumulate water in the drain line, especially when it is clogged. A clogged drain line in your air conditioning system can lead to an issue called "ice build-up" which causes your air conditioning unit to fail.

Usual Maintenance

To keep the AC running at its best, you should regularly maintain the AC system. This includes taking care of any issues that arise with the AC unit itself.

When you do this maintenance, you should check out the drains for your AC. This ensures that there are no obstructions, which can cause the AC to run inefficiently.

Water Wicking

There is also a simple lifehack that you can do to improve drain flow called "water wicking."

Water in an AC system can be wicked away from the evaporator coils. Wicking is the process of transporting liquids through fibrous materials. It is used to move moisture away from where it is deposited, and to transport it to another location or surface.

Simply insert a strip of gauze at the bottom frame of the AC where the tray is. Secure it tightly. The gauze is porous which will allow the water condensate to move through the fibers and get absorbed.

The video below illustrates this process best:

Drilling Drain Holes To Optimize Drain Flow: Do You Recommend It?

Drilling a drain hole into your air conditioner's drain pan can help increase the speed of draining water from the pan, which could mean more effective operation.

However, there's a danger with drilling a hole: you could potentially hit the copper tubing inside. Besides, this kind of modification will void your air conditioner's warranty.

How Long Does A Window AC Last?

There are many factors that contribute to determining a window AC unit's lifespan. These factors include the quality of the unit itself, the location and surrounding area where the unit is installed, usage frequency, and ambient temperature.

Nonetheless, the Consumer Reports confirms that you can expect most window air conditioners to last between 8 to 10 years.

How Much Does It Cost To Recharge A Window AC's Refrigerant?

It costs between $100 and $200 to recharge the refrigerant in your window air conditioner. This is just for the labor alone. You can buy DIY refrigerant kits if you want to save money, which costs about $30.

How Often Should You Recharge Refrigerant?

If you have an AC unit and you're looking to maintain its optimal performance, you'll want to be sure it's charged with refrigerant. When refrigerant levels drop, you'll notice a loss in efficiency and eventually, the unit will not work properly.

A window air conditioner's refrigerant needs to be recharged once every five years. If you live in a hot climate area where air conditioners are working hard than they should, it could be earlier than that.

It's also important to ensure that the AC unit has refrigerant that has not leaked out, as this can also cause the untimely need for a recharge. 

Do All Window Air Conditioners Have Drain Holes?

One of the most common complaints that homeowners have about the new generation of window AC units is that they don't have drain holes. These are typically located near the bottom of the unit in the previous generations of air conditioners.

However, you have the option to drill drain holes. If voiding your unit's warranty is not a concern, you can proceed and make a couple of these cute little holes yourself. 

Can You Weatherstrip A Window AC?

It's important to know that weatherstripping is often a crucial part of the window air conditioning system. Gaps and imperfections are unavoidable and inevitable. It is recommended to use weatherstripping to close the gap and keep the cool air in.

It also reduces the amount of temperature leakage, which means efficient cooling and lower utility bills.

Weatherstrip tape.

How Often Should You Clean Or Replace Air Filter For A Window AC?

Dirty air conditioning unit.

Air conditioners are usually a big investment in your home. It's important to understand what you can do to extend its life and maintain its efficiency.

The air filter is a big part of your air conditioner's lifespan. If the air filter is clogged, it can cause the air conditioner to work harder, increasing your utility bills.

In addition, your window air conditioner's air filter can build up dust, mold spores, and allergens that can cause respiratory issues for you and your family.

The filter is responsible for keeping these allergens out of your home, and it also helps to clean indoor air. Therefore, it's a good idea to check the filter regularly. It's recommended that you clean it every month

Can You Clean A Window AC Without Disassembling It?

Window air conditioning unit on a cabin

There's an easier way to clean your AC unit than to remove it. Removing the unit can be a pretty time-consuming process, especially if you have a large window unit. For instance, it could take up to 10 minutes to remove an air conditioner from a single window. 

However, it is possible to clean a window air conditioner without removing it. The unit can be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner or compressed air and a few tools.

This is a great time to use a soft cleaning brush and a mild spray cleaning solution. The solution can help remove dirt and grime from the outside of the air conditioner. You might as well clean the window to impress her!

Check out this spray cleaning solution on Amazon.

In Closing

It’s important to have a clear understanding of what’s causing your AC to leak. It may not seem like a big deal when you see water dripping out of your AC unit, but a leaky AC system can be a serious problem for your home's energy efficiency.

If you see excessive water dripping from your air conditioning unit, take a look at the components and fix them immediately before the problem gets out of hand.

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