AC outside condensate drain pouring water (not just a drip)

Beja Foster
by Beja Foster
We bought this house new 10 years ago. About a month ago, I noticed when the AC unit would shut off that our outside condensate drain which is located between the first and second story windows started pouring water because it was enough to hit the window. The air filter has been changed. I have flushed out the condensate with bleach water, and it didn't seem to indicate a clog from the inside unit. Any ideas on if this is a problem?
  13 answers
  • Julie Moyna Julie Moyna on Jul 02, 2015
    Let me ask my hubby. He just noticed that at my father inlaws home and was telling him. I'll get back to you when he gets home!
  • Julie Moyna Julie Moyna on Jul 03, 2015
    Ok, I asked hubby and he said that it is normal. If it is hot or humid that is what it does. Condensation from the cool line and heat outside. Doesn't make sense to me but our house does as well. We live in the desert area of Los Angeles and he reminded me that I freaked out too a few years ago when I saw dripping. Hope this helps.
  • Nancy Homan Evans Nancy Homan Evans on Jul 03, 2015
    People in California, where we are suffering our 5th year of drought are catching that water from the AC line to water plants. Apparently, you can get quite a bit of water from the AC.
  • Lee614517 Lee614517 on Jul 03, 2015
    I there is a lot of water flowing out of the condensate pipe and you AC shuts off there may be a small box on the floor near you air handler that is a pump. they are sometimes hard wired to 110volts or just plugged into an outlet, check to see you have one, there will be PVC pipe or tubing connected to it, if you have one make sure the plug is in as it could have become dislodged. If there is no pump there will be a switch in your PVC PIPE COMING FROM THE AIR HANDLER, it should have a pair of wires going to the switch, this is a float switch that shuts off the AC if the pvc pipe cannot handle the flow of condensate from the AC. You can pull the switch out of the pipe as it is not cemented in, look into the pipe, if you see water it needs to be drained. Note there could be a blockage, sometimes when people pour bleach into to drain pipe they pour too quickly and the section of pipe where the switch is gets filled and the float switch rises with the excess liquid and cites power to the AC unit. I hope you find this info useful in solving your problem. I once had a home with a pump, the contractor never wired it in and there was no electrical outlet to plug it into so they left the plug lying on the floor in the AC closet. I have also poured bleach too quickly and caused the float switch to chug off power, I have a turkey baster just for the purpose of drawing water from the pvc elbow that the switch sits in, Note the switch is relatively safe to handle unless the wires are frayed or bare it just pulls out with a little twist, don't forget to replace it when your done! Good a luck!
  • Jmo214553 Jmo214553 on Jul 03, 2015
    You might want to check your condenser coil (not the outside compressor unit). It's pulling lots of water/humidity from your home if you have a flowing drain. Like others said, if you're in a hot/humid area (I'm in Houston, TX), it may just be normal. Also, don't forget to ALWAYS check your drain from the condenser to the outside. You can buy tablets to drop in, but I just pour some bleach in it each year to clear anything (mold, bugs) out to eliminate any backup to the drain pan
  • Barbara Valenti Barbara Valenti on Jul 03, 2015
    Ours had a same problem. Found out it wasn't the AC, but the hot water tank. Yep! It's in our attic, which I hate but we bought this house awhile back. Seems there is an overflow of water to the hot water tank. Ours is gas. Not that, it matters. Well, we had to release some of the pressure from the hot water tank. Guess what? it kept doing this and we ended up needing a new hot water tank. The bottom had started to rust, yes its a big overflow and this valve is the first indication that there is a problem. I know all this for that, but it might just be your problem too. See I also thought it was coming from our AC. Almost wish it had been. Would have been a cheaper fix. Good luck! Let me know what the verdict is.
  • Barbara Valenti Barbara Valenti on Jul 03, 2015
    By the way, all that bleach won't help at all. It's coming from the hot water tank so things must drain out.
  • Brenda Cooley Brenda Cooley on Jul 03, 2015
    Maybe you could modify a rain chain to put on it so the water will trickle down instead.
  • Barbara Valenti Barbara Valenti on Jul 04, 2015
    I am really anxious to hear what the problem is. I hope its nothing major!
  • Pete Wells Pete Wells on Jul 04, 2015
    If it's your water heater, the water coming from the drain will be hot...AC condensate is always cool...
  • Barbara Valenti Barbara Valenti on Jul 05, 2015
    How can you tell especially since its Summer. By draining through the pipes it would have a chance to cool down or be warm due to the weather. I am just trying to help out by saying what my leak was. I thought the same thing at first. Our houses sound about the same age and those tanks don't last forever! I was just trying to help I am not a plumber or electrician.
  • Beja Foster Beja Foster on Jul 06, 2015
    I'm still trying to figure this out. Will test the water to see if it's possibly the water heater as lots of people have already replaced theirs in our neighborhood. Thanks!
  • Barbara Valenti Barbara Valenti on Jul 10, 2015
    Good luck!