How to Fix a Leaky AC: A Drip-Proof Strategy

During the summer months, having a properly functioning air conditioner is crucial for keeping your home cool and comfortable. However, a leaky AC can quickly turn into a major headache. Not only does it reduce the cooling efficiency of your unit, but it can also cause water damage to your home. In this article, we’ll explore various methods to fix a leaky AC and provide you with a drip-proof strategy to ensure your unit operates smoothly.

Types of AC Leaks

Before diving into the solutions, it’s important to identify the type of leak you’re dealing with. Leaks in your AC system can be categorized into two main types: drain pan leaks and refrigerant leaks.

Drain Pan

The drain pan is located below the evaporator coils and is responsible for collecting condensation. Over time, drain pans can develop cracks or become clogged, causing leaks. If you notice water pooling around your indoor unit, a drain pan leak is likely the culprit.

When a drain pan develops cracks, it can allow water to escape and accumulate around your AC unit. This can lead to water damage, mold growth, and even structural issues if left untreated. It’s important to address drain pan leaks promptly to prevent further damage to your AC system and your home.

In addition to cracks, drain pans can also become clogged with debris such as dust, dirt, and algae. This can obstruct the flow of condensation, causing water to overflow and leak. Regular maintenance and cleaning of the drain pan can help prevent clogs and subsequent leaks.


Refrigerant leaks are a more serious issue and require professional attention. Refrigerant is responsible for the cooling process in your AC unit, and a leak can cause the system to lose its cooling power. If you notice a decrease in cooling efficiency or a hissing sound coming from your unit, it’s likely a refrigerant leak.

Refrigerant leaks can occur due to various reasons, such as corrosion, faulty connections, or manufacturing defects. When refrigerant leaks, it not only affects the cooling efficiency of your AC system but also poses health risks. Refrigerants are harmful chemicals that can cause respiratory issues and environmental damage.

It’s crucial to address refrigerant leaks promptly to prevent further damage to your AC unit and ensure the safety of your household. Professional HVAC technicians have the expertise and equipment to detect and repair refrigerant leaks safely and efficiently.

In some cases, refrigerant leaks may be caused by improper installation or inadequate maintenance. Regular inspections and tune-ups can help identify potential leaks before they become major problems. Additionally, proper handling and disposal of refrigerants are essential to minimize their impact on the environment.

Preliminary Checks

Before attempting any repairs, it’s important to take some preliminary steps to ensure your safety and assess the situation.

When it comes to AC unit repairs, safety should always be your top priority. Taking the time to perform some preliminary checks can help you avoid any potential hazards and make the repair process smoother.

Power Off

The first step is to turn off the power supply to your AC unit. This will prevent any accidental electrical shocks during the repair process. Locate the circuit breaker connected to your AC unit and switch it off.

It’s crucial to remember that electricity and water don’t mix well. By cutting off the power supply, you eliminate the risk of electric shock while working on your AC unit. Always prioritize your safety and follow proper procedures.

Area Assessment

Next, thoroughly inspect the area around your AC unit for any signs of water damage. Check the walls, flooring, and nearby furniture for moisture or discoloration. This will help you determine the extent of the damage caused by the leak.

Water damage can have serious consequences, not only for your AC unit but also for your home’s structure. By assessing the area, you can identify any potential issues that need to be addressed. Look for any signs of mold or mildew, as these can indicate long-standing water damage.

Additionally, check for any unusual odors that may be present. Water damage can often lead to unpleasant smells, which may require further investigation and remediation.

Remember, early detection of water damage can save you from costly repairs down the line. By thoroughly assessing the area, you can determine the severity of the situation and plan your next steps accordingly.

Tools and Materials

Before starting the repair process, gather the necessary tools and materials to make the job easier.

Repairing an AC unit can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and materials, you can tackle it like a pro. Here are some essential items you’ll need:

Basic Toolkit

You’ll need a basic toolkit that includes a screwdriver, pliers, wrenches, and a utility knife. These tools will help you disassemble different components of your AC unit for repair or replacement.

The screwdriver is a versatile tool that comes in handy for removing screws that hold the AC unit together. Pliers are essential for gripping and twisting wires or removing stubborn parts. Wrenches are necessary for loosening or tightening nuts and bolts, ensuring a secure fit. A utility knife is useful for cutting through materials like insulation or tape.

Having these tools readily available will save you time and frustration during the repair process.


To fix minor leaks, you’ll need sealants such as epoxy or silicone caulk. These sealants are designed to withstand the temperature and pressure of an AC system and provide a reliable seal.

Epoxy is a versatile adhesive that can bond various materials, making it an excellent choice for sealing leaks in your AC unit. It forms a strong, durable bond that can withstand the rigors of an AC system.

Silicone caulk, on the other hand, is a flexible sealant that can expand and contract with temperature changes. This makes it ideal for sealing gaps or cracks in your AC unit, ensuring a tight seal and preventing any air leakage.

When applying sealants, make sure to clean the surface thoroughly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. Properly sealing leaks will help your AC unit operate efficiently and prevent any further damage.

DIY Solutions

If you’re confident in your DIY skills and the leak doesn’t require professional attention, there are a few solutions you can try.

Drain Line Flush

A common cause of drain pan leaks is a clogged drain line. Using a wet-dry vacuum or a pipe cleaner, attempt to clear any blockages in the drain line. This will allow the condensation to flow freely into the drain pan.

When performing a drain line flush, it’s important to be cautious and gentle. Avoid using excessive force that could potentially damage the drain line or other components of your system. Take your time and carefully remove any debris that may be causing the blockage. By doing so, you’ll ensure that the condensation can properly drain, preventing further leaks and potential water damage.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to inspect the drain line regularly to prevent future clogs. Consider using a drain line cleaner or pouring a mixture of vinegar and hot water down the drain line to keep it clear and free from buildup.

Pan Seal

If your drain pan is cracked or damaged, applying a sealant can help temporarily fix the issue. Clean the area thoroughly and apply the sealant according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember that this is a temporary solution, and you may need to replace the drain pan in the long run.

When applying a pan sealant, it’s crucial to ensure that the surface is clean and dry. Use a mild detergent and warm water to remove any dirt or debris from the area. Once the surface is clean, allow it to dry completely before applying the sealant.

When choosing a sealant, opt for one that is specifically designed for use on drain pans and is compatible with the material of your pan. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, applying the sealant evenly and allowing it to cure fully before testing for leaks.

While a pan sealant can provide a temporary fix, it’s important to keep in mind that it may not be a long-term solution. If the damage to the drain pan is extensive or if the leak persists, it’s advisable to consult a professional HVAC technician who can assess the situation and recommend the best course of action.

Technical Fixes

When it comes to more complex issues with your AC system, it is always recommended to seek the assistance of professionals who have the necessary expertise. While there are simple maintenance tasks that you can handle on your own, certain technical fixes require specialized knowledge and skills. Here, we will explore two such technical fixes that should be left to the professionals.

Coil Repair

If you notice a leak coming from the evaporator coil, it is crucial to contact a professional technician for repair. The evaporator coil is a delicate component of your AC system, and attempting to fix it yourself can lead to further damage. A professional technician will have the necessary tools and expertise to identify the root cause of the leak and perform the repair safely and effectively. They will also ensure that the coil is properly sealed to prevent any future leaks.

During the repair process, the technician will carefully inspect the coil for any signs of damage or corrosion. They will then determine the best course of action, which may involve repairing the existing coil or replacing it altogether. In some cases, the leak may be caused by a small puncture or a faulty weld, which can be repaired using specialized techniques. However, if the coil is severely damaged or corroded, a replacement may be necessary to restore the optimal functioning of your AC system.

Valve Replacement

In certain instances, a faulty valve may be the culprit behind the leak in your AC system. Valves play a crucial role in regulating the flow of refrigerant within the system, and a malfunctioning valve can disrupt the entire cooling process. It is important to note that replacing a valve requires specific knowledge and expertise, which only a professional technician possesses.

When you hire a professional technician for valve replacement, they will first assess the condition of the valve and determine if it is indeed the cause of the leak. They will then carefully remove the faulty valve and replace it with a new one that is compatible with your AC system. It is crucial to use the correct valve type and size to ensure proper functioning and prevent any future leaks or system malfunctions.

Attempting to replace a valve without the necessary knowledge and expertise can lead to refrigerant leaks or other system malfunctions. It is always best to rely on professionals who have the experience and training to handle such technical repairs.

When to Call Pros

Knowing when to call in the professionals is essential to ensure your AC unit is repaired correctly and efficiently. But what are the specific situations where it’s best to seek professional help? Let’s dive deeper into a couple of scenarios where calling the experts is the smartest choice.

Refrigerant Handling

Handling refrigerant requires specialized knowledge and equipment. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, it’s crucial to contact a professional technician. They have the expertise to identify and fix the leak while following proper safety protocols.

Refrigerant leaks can be hazardous to both your health and the environment. These leaks can release harmful chemicals into the air, posing a risk to you, your family, and the ozone layer. Professional technicians are trained to handle refrigerants safely, minimizing the potential harm.

Moreover, pinpointing the exact location of a refrigerant leak can be challenging. It requires specialized tools and expertise to detect and repair the leak effectively. Professionals have access to advanced equipment that can accurately identify the source of the leak, ensuring a thorough repair.

By relying on professionals for refrigerant handling, you can have peace of mind knowing that your AC unit is in capable hands. They will not only fix the leak but also ensure that your system is recharged with the correct amount of refrigerant, optimizing its performance.

Major Repairs

If the leak is extensive or if there are multiple issues with your AC unit, it’s best to seek professional help. Attempting complex repairs without the necessary experience can result in further damage to your unit.

AC systems are intricate machines with various components working together to provide cool air. When multiple issues arise simultaneously, it can be challenging to diagnose and fix them without professional assistance. Professionals have the knowledge and experience to identify the root causes of complex problems and implement appropriate solutions.

Major repairs often involve disassembling and reassembling parts of your AC unit. This process requires technical expertise and precision to ensure that everything is correctly reconnected and functioning optimally. Professionals are well-versed in the intricacies of AC systems and can perform these repairs efficiently and effectively.

Attempting major repairs on your own can void any warranties you may have on your AC unit. Manufacturers often require professional installation and repairs to maintain the warranty’s validity. By hiring professionals, you can ensure that your warranty remains intact, protecting you from unexpected expenses.

When faced with major repairs, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. They have the necessary skills, experience, and tools to handle complex issues, ensuring that your AC unit is restored to its optimal condition.

Costs Involved

Understanding the costs involved in fixing a leaky AC can help you make informed decisions about repairs and replacements.

When it comes to fixing a leaky AC, there are several costs to consider. These costs can vary depending on the severity of the leak, the type of repair needed, and whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a professional.

Let’s take a closer look at the different costs involved in addressing a leaky AC:

DIY vs Professional

DIY solutions are typically more cost-effective, but they may not provide a permanent fix. If you have some experience with AC repairs and feel confident in your abilities, you may be able to tackle the leak yourself. However, it’s important to note that DIY repairs can sometimes lead to further damage if not done correctly.

If you decide to hire a professional, you can expect to pay for their expertise and labor. Professional technicians have the knowledge and experience to accurately diagnose and repair AC leaks. They also have access to specialized tools and equipment that may be necessary for the job.

Calling in a professional ensures the leak is properly repaired, but it may come at a higher cost. The cost of professional repairs can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the repair, the location of the leak, and the contractor’s rates. It’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different professionals to compare prices and services.

Consider the severity of the leak and your budget when deciding between DIY and professional repairs. While DIY may save you money upfront, it’s important to weigh the potential risks and long-term costs.

Replacement Costs

In some cases, the best solution may be to replace the AC unit entirely. If your AC is old, inefficient, or has multiple leaks, it may be more cost-effective to invest in a new unit rather than continuously repairing the existing one.

The cost of a new AC unit depends on various factors, such as the size of your home, the energy efficiency rating, and any additional features you may want. Energy-efficient units tend to be more expensive upfront but can save you money on energy bills in the long run.

Consult with a professional technician to determine the most cost-effective option for your specific situation. They can assess the condition of your current AC unit, calculate potential energy savings with a new unit, and provide you with an estimate for replacement costs.

It’s important to consider the overall value and lifespan of your AC unit when deciding whether to repair or replace. Sometimes, investing in a new, more efficient unit can provide better long-term savings and comfort.

Urgency Scale

Understanding the urgency of a leaky AC can help prioritize repairs and prevent further damage to your unit and home.

Time Sensitivity

Some leaks, such as refrigerant leaks or major water damage, require immediate attention. Ignoring these leaks can lead to more severe problems and costly repairs in the future. Address time-sensitive leaks promptly to minimize any potential damage.

Damage Potential

Assess the damage potential of the leak to determine its urgency. If the leak is causing significant water damage or compromising the structural integrity of your home, it’s essential to address it as soon as possible. Not only will this protect your property, but it will also ensure the longevity of your AC unit.

Preventive Measures

Taking preventive measures can help reduce the likelihood of future leaks and prolong the lifespan of your AC unit.

Regular Checks

Perform routine checks on your AC unit to identify any potential issues before they escalate into leaks. Check the drain line, drain pan, and other components for signs of wear or damage. Cleaning or replacing filters regularly can also prevent clogs and improve overall efficiency.

Maintenance Schedule

Following a maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer or a professional technician is crucial for preventing leaks. Regular maintenance includes cleaning coils, lubricating moving parts, and checking refrigerant levels. By adhering to a maintenance schedule, you can catch minor issues before they turn into major leaks.

Warranty Considerations

Checking your AC unit’s warranty terms is important before attempting any repairs or replacements.

Manufacturer Terms

Review the manufacturer’s warranty to determine if the repairs or replacements are covered. Attempting DIY repairs may void the warranty, so consult with the manufacturer or a professional technician to ensure you don’t invalidate the warranty.

Repair Validation

Many warranties require repairs or replacements to be performed by authorized technicians. To avoid any complications with your warranty, contact a professional technician to assess and repair the leaky AC unit.

Smart Detection

Advancements in technology have made it easier to detect leaks and monitor your AC unit’s performance.


Smart sensors can be installed near your AC unit to detect leaks and track humidity levels. These sensors will alert you if there are any abnormalities in your system, allowing you to take immediate action.

Apps for Leak Monitoring

There are various mobile apps available that can help you monitor your AC unit’s performance and detect leaks. These apps provide real-time data and notifications, ensuring you stay on top of any potential issues.

Legal Obligations

When dealing with AC leaks, it’s important to be aware of any legal obligations or requirements.

Hazardous Leaks

Some refrigerants used in AC systems are classified as hazardous substances. It’s crucial to handle these leaks with caution and follow proper disposal procedures. Contact your local authorities or environmental agencies for guidance on disposing of hazardous refrigerants.


Ensure that any repairs or replacements comply with local building codes and regulations. Hiring a professional technician will help you meet these requirements and keep your AC system in accordance with the law.

Eco-Friendly Alternatives

Consider environmentally friendly options when repairing or replacing your AC unit.

Leak-Free Tech

New technologies and materials are being developed to create leak-free AC systems. Consider investing in these technologies to reduce your environmental impact and save on future repair costs.

Environmentally Safe Refrigerants

Traditional refrigerants often have a negative impact on the environment. Look for AC units that use environmentally safe refrigerants such as R-410A or R-32. These refrigerants have a lower global warming potential and are considered more eco-friendly.


Fixing a leaky AC requires a systematic approach and the correct tools and materials. Identifying the type of leak, taking necessary precautions, and knowing when to call in professionals are essential steps in the process. By following a preventive maintenance schedule and considering environmentally friendly alternatives, you can ensure your AC unit remains leak-free and efficient. Remember, if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with any repairs, it’s always best to consult with a professional technician to avoid further damage or safety risks.

To ensure that your HVAC needs are taken care of professionally and efficiently, trust The Cooling Company. Our experienced technicians are ready to assist you with any AC repair, maintenance, or installation services you may require. Contact us today at (702) 567-0707 and experience the difference of our top-notch HVAC services.

Remember, a leaky AC is not something to be ignored. It can lead to further damage, decreased cooling efficiency, and potential health hazards. Don’t hesitate to reach out to The Cooling Company for all of your HVAC needs. We are here to help you stay cool and comfortable all year round.