Once the temperatures rise in Arizona and the air conditioners turn on, the phone calls start rolling in. One of the most frequent calls is about water leaking from ceilings, in basements or from air conditioners and furnaces.
Most of the time (assuming the leak is coming from inside the home), the problem is a clogged condensate drain line.
When your air conditioner removes heat from your home, it also removes humidity. As air passes over the coils in your air conditioner or heat pump, the humidity is turned into water, which is collected in a pan known as the condensate drain pan.
From the drain pan, the water exits your home through the condensate drain line. But the line can become clogged with dirt, debris or a buildup of rust or algae.
In most homes, there are two condensate drain lines: one lower on an exterior wall with another drain line higher up, towards the roof. It is normal with higher humidity levels to see water draining from the lower drain line closest to the ground.
However, if you see water draining from the drain line which is higher and closest to the roof line or attic, a serious problem exists. This moisture is coming from the secondary drain pan (sometimes rust colored) because an obstruction exists!
A clogged condensate drain line can lead to bigger problems, such as:
Air conditioning systems are made up of two separate components – the condenser (or outdoor unit) and the air handler (or indoor unit). The indoor AC unit in many Phoenix area homes is attached to your furnace and located in the attic.
Therefore, your ceiling leak may appear to be originating from your furnace when it is actually coming from the air handler (or indoor air conditioning unit).
If water is dripping from your ceiling and your furnace and/or air handler is located in the attic, the most likely cause is a clogged condensate drain line. Over time, algae can grow inside of this drain line, causing backups or clogs. Also, it is possible for dirt or debris to become lodged inside.
If you already have water leaking from your ceiling, call a professional air conditioning repair technician immediately to flush out your condensate drain line or replace the drain pan.
Then, make sure it does not happen again. You should:
Stop the leak in your ceiling now. Schedule a service online or give us a call at
We serve Fountain Hills, Mesa, Rio Verde, Cave Creek, Carefree, and the Phoenix area with expert air conditioning and heating services.