Is A Leaking AC Unit Dangerous?

Water vs. Refrigerant Leaks

When things are out of the ordinary, your mind probably jumps to the worst-case scenario. The unknown can be scary, so it’s understandable to be nervous when your air conditioner leaks. No need to worry, though. Although you shouldn’t wait to get it fixed, it’s more than likely a non-dangerous situation for you and your family.
If your AC unit is leaking, it’s most likely just water. Water commonly drips from HVAC systems because of disconnected or clogged drain lines. An overflowing or cracked drip pan, as well as frozen evaporator coils, can also cause water to drip from your unit.
Your AC unit can also leak refrigerant, the liquid used to cool your home’s air, but it’s not as common. Refrigerant can become dangerous if the leaking liquid evaporates and becomes a gas.
If you believe your AC unit is leaking refrigerant, be sure to contact your AC company immediately. If your air conditioner leaks water, you are safe – but you should still call for AC repair.

How to Tell if Your Unit is Leaking Water:

  • Standing water – look for a drip, if you find one, it’s likely from your AC unit
  • Full condensate pan – this should not be something you empty out often
  • Moldy smell throughout the entire house
  • Water damage such as water spots near the unit or on the fan or nearby floor

Water leakage and damage is typically caused by a clogged drain. A properly functioning air conditioning unit should funnel the moisture it pulls from the air through the unit and into the drain lines. The best way to ensure your unit is operating at peak performance is to do regular maintenance during your annual tune-ups and to use high-quality filters that will trap particulate matter from entering your air. 


  • Higher than normal electric bill
  • House takes longer to cool down
  • AC blowing warm air, rather than cool
  • Ice buildup on evaporator coils or copper lines

You’ll know your AC system is leaking if there is a puddle on the floor under your unit. In the event that your evaporator coils are frozen or your system is leaking refrigerant, you’re likely to notice a change in the efficiency of your system. A leaking air conditioner will also cause your electricity bills to rise.

How to Tell if You Have a Refrigerant Leak

When your AC begins to leak, first try to determine what is leaking and where it’s coming from. If you’ve determined the liquid leaking from your AC unit is water and you can’t fix the problem, contact us at Big Mountain Air. Our professional team has been locating and repairing HVAC problems since 2006.