How Much Water Should Drain From Window Air Conditioner?

Your window air conditioner (AC) drains outside your home, especially during hot days. Do you know how much water it ought to release? Well, we looked into this question and have an answer.

It's difficult to quantify the exact amount of water that drains from a window AC. But on average, we'd say up to two gallons every day.

We'll delve into the topic of the draining window AC in this post, focusing on how much it drains. Additionally, we'll discuss where you might find the drain hole, the causes of your unit's failure to drain, and some essential window AC maintenance. So keep on reading.

Window air conditioner unit in window in brick building with green grass and leaves on ground on overcast day, How Much Water Should Drain From Window Air Conditioner?

How Much Water Should Drain From A Window Air Conditioner?

Window AC unit attached to a brick walled house

The process of the air conditioner itself expelling water outside of your home is the relevant portion of the process. However, if there is an internal leak, the air conditioner will experience issues. It's possible that you'll need assistance in fixing it.

The condensate drain line is where your air conditioner releases the water. As a result, it plays a crucial role in the refrigeration process.

As a room cools, the air conditioner takes in the interior humidity. This moist air will then condense or change into water.

However, your air conditioner holds onto the water that was extracted. This extracted water is subsequently sent to the condensate drain line.

The accumulated moisture damages the electrical parts and the air conditioner's cooling system. These condensate drain lines are often made out of plastic for window AC.

Therefore, don't be alarmed if you see water dripping from the air conditioner's exterior. It contributes to your home's cooling process.

The average amount of water released outside the window AC unit is up to two gallons per day.

However, the amount of condensation that drips from the window AC varies greatly depending on humidity levels, temperature, the air conditioner's size, performance, and installation, among other factors.

Where Is the Drain Hole For A Window AC?

The drainage hole is often located beneath the outside component of the window AC that protrudes out of the window.

To get to it, you must step outside. You will need to remove your air conditioner from the window if you can't access it from the outside.

Modern units feature drain holes on their sides, whereas older types have holes in the middle. If you can't find it, follow the drainage hose to the drain pan, where you will discover the hole, as it is typically connected with one. 

If there isn't a drainage hose, you can find the source of the leak by following the drips of water. You may keep looking for the hole but be unable to find it. 

This is due to the fact that some window air conditioners lack drain holes, and some have their holes closed. Because they reuse the collected water, these window solutions don't require a hole. 

In its place, they have a fan-blade-mounted slinger ring. When the blade turns, this ring draws water into itself and hurls it against the coils. This aids in cooling the coils and preventing overheating. 

If your window AC has a clogged hole, you shouldn't unplug it until the drip pan begins to overflow with water. No matter what, never drill a hole to address a drainage issue. You run the risk of damaging other AC parts or cutting the refrigerant line.

Why Isn't the Air Conditioner Draining Water?

Occasionally, problems could occur that prevent your air conditioner from draining water.

If this happens, it can have unfavorable consequences, such as an obstructed air conditioner or a leaky pipe. Here are a few potential causes of your air conditioner not draining water:

Disconnected Or Clogged Drain Line

When your air conditioner is not draining water, the drain line is the first thing you should examine. Due to incorrect installation or vibration, some connections may become loose. Your AC might typically drain once you've tightened it up again.

If the drain line is entirely clogged, it must be cleared in order for water to flow through. The accumulation of dirt and debris inside the pipe is the main cause of blockage.

Rusted Drain Pan

There is a possibility that your drain pan has worn out if your AC is older. Check for rust or other damage first since these can stop water from flowing to the drain pipe.

In this situation, you must swap out the pan for a new one if you cannot resolve it by just scrubbing or cleaning up.

Faulty Condensate Pump

A condensate pump is a component that directs moisture from condensation to the drain line. Your interior air conditioning unit has a condensate pump if it's in the basement.

Unfortunately, if things don't function properly, there's a chance that your condensate pump won't either.

Frozen Evaporator Coils

Coils in an evaporator might freeze for a variety of causes. The water leaks first as a result of frozen coils, which prevent the water from passing through the drain line.

The leaking water may harm your walls and the furniture nearby, necessitating fast attention to prevent more serious damage. 

Second, your evaporator coils may break down as a result of ice buildup. When this occurs, your air conditioner won't be able to cool your home adequately.

Last but not least, if the ice on your coils melts, it can result in a short circuit, which might be harmful.

Dirty Or Boken Coils

Water may not be able to flow to the drain line if dirt has accumulated in the coils. If the coils shatter, the same situations arise. 

At the coils, the water will remain. The water will eventually build up to a point where the coil will no longer be able to retain it, allowing it to leak and fall down the coil in an uncontrolled manner.

Be sure to inspect the coils and, if necessary, clean them if you discover any leaks.

How To Maintain The Drain Hole Of Window Air Conditioner

a professional electrician is cleaning a window air conditioner is dirty and preparing for cleaning kept on the roof top of a house

Knowing how to drain water from a window air conditioner can help you ensure long life and efficient performance. For the purpose of preventing problems inside, window air conditioners typically have an integrated drain hole that directs water outside. 

You can learn how to maintain your central air conditioner, clean the mold out of your air conditioner vents, and calculate an air conditioner's BTUs to keep it from working too hard and breaking down too soon. 

Even the greatest air conditioners require routine maintenance and cleaning of the drain holes to prevent damage and electrical shock. Below are the ways to carry out a better draining process of window AC:

Drain Hole Cleaning

Over time, the various parts of your air conditioner may rust or build up dirt. This can fall into the drain pan of the appliance and fully clog the drain hole, trapping water that could harm the entire appliance. Below is the detailed process for cleaning.

1. Unplug the unit.

2. Slant the lower side of the unit to allow good drainage. For information on how tilted your unit must be for proper drainage, consult your owner's manual. Some manufacturers advise using 2-4°, while others claim that ½° will suffice.

3. Locate the hole. Remove the plug or cap from the hole to remove the extra water.

4. Check to see if the drain hole is clogged. If it is, use a wire brush to clear the obstruction.

Click here to see these wire brushes on amazon.

5. Take the unit out of your window.

6. Remove the unit's outer casing.

7. Cover the switches and fan motor with a thick cloth to avoid causing damage and stop water from entering.

Click here to see this absorbent cloth on Amazon.

8. Mist the drain hole with a hose. Include the coils and casing. For thorough cleaning, direct a low-pressure stream of water.

Click here to see this hose on Amazon.

9. Unscrew the window AC drip pan with a screwdriver and take it out.

Click here to see this screwdriver on Amazon.

10. Scrub the drip pan as well as the casing. Replace it with a new drip pan if it is rusty.

11. Reassemble the unit. Do not plug it in right away after cleaning. You should let the unit dry out before turning it on.

Watch the YouTube video below for more details on cleaning a window AC.

Put Your Window AC In An Angled Position

Outdoor Window Air Conditioning Units on an Old Brick New York City Apartment Building during Spring

Installing your window unit with a small tilt and letting gravity do the work will ensure proper water drainage through the drain hole. 

Use a book or a stent under the window's indoor portion, but don't make the angle too sharp. You should still periodically check the drain to make sure it isn't blocked or clogged.

This maintenance will be simpler if a slide-out chassis air conditioner is installed.

Rest Your Window AC

girl is going to turn off the electricity in the house using a power switch

Long-term usage of a window AC might result in water accumulating in the drain pan more quickly than it can exit the hole.

If you've been operating your air conditioner for several hours, especially at the highest cooling levels, it's a good idea to let it rest for an hour or so. 

Doing this will allow the drain to function properly, so you won't have to worry about water spilling into the drain pan and harming its components.


Now that you know the volume of water that needs to be drained from the window AC, you can check to see if your unit is draining properly.

If  it isn't, you can follow the above guidance to identify potential problem sand take the necessary action. However, if you're unsure of anything, it's best to call an HVAC professional.

If you want to learn more, check out these related posts.

How To Fill Gap Above A Window Air Conditioner?

Should You Put A Ceiling Fan In Your Kitchen?


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