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Air Conditioning Vent Condensation: What’s Wrong?

an AC vent

The combination of heat and humidity makes for an uncomfortable experience at home. No homeowner wants to sweat inside their home. Fortunately, turning on the AC can bring some welcome relief.

On extra humid days, you might notice some air conditioning vent condensation. A small amount shouldn’t be a cause for concern, but excessive condensation could signify an underlying problem. You could have a damaged drain line or a leaking roof.

If you can’t figure out what’s causing the condensation, let HVAC professionals handle it. They will identify the root cause and perform the necessary repairs and replacements.

What Causes Excessive Air Conditioning Vent Condensation?

It’s not unusual to see condensation in the AC vent in the spring and summer. It happens when the excess moisture in the air interacts with the vent’s cold surface. The water vapor then cools down, forming water droplets in the vent. The same happens when you bring a cold glass of water outside. Moisture forms on the glass’s surface.

While a bit of condensation won’t hurt anything, excess water can cause severe and expensive damage. The condensation can seep into the walls, ceiling and floor, destroying the drywall and encouraging mildew and bacteria to grow. In addition, condensation can cause premature rusting on the vent ducts and covers. It’s also not great for the drain line, as excess water can overwhelm it.

Here are some possible reasons for excess condensation in your AC vent.

High Humidity Levels

The higher the moisture level in the air, the more condensation will form on your AC vent’s cold surface. That could be the case if you live in a high-humidity area or near a body of water. Other things in your home could also be contributing to the humidity level. Roof leaks, indoor gardens and hot showers can all cause excess moisture.

Investing in an air dehumidifier will help regulate the air moisture in your home and lessen the condensation on your AC vent. It will also help you feel less sticky and more comfortable.

Blocked or Poorly Insulated Ducts

Blocked ducts hamper airflow inside the HVAC system, sending humidity back to the AC unit and raising the temperature. This causes condensation to form on the vent. To maximize airflow and prevent this issue, clean the ducts regularly and dust off the AC unit.

It also helps to replace the duct insulation. Poor duct insulation leads to higher temperatures and speeds up condensation.

Clogged or Broken Drain Lines

If your AC’s drain line is clogged or broken, the condensate has nowhere to go and will flow back into the unit. That can cause messy leaks and excessive condensation in the vent. Without regular cleaning, sediment and debris build up over time and clog the drain lines.

You can manually clear the blockage inside the drain line by flushing it with warm water, vinegar and baking soda. If that doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to call in a pro. An HVAC specialist has the right tools to get that stubborn clog out.

Dirty Air Filter and Coils

Dirt, debris and other foreign objects can collect on your AC’s air filter and coils over time, hampering the system’s airflow. When there’s insufficient air inside, the AC will ice over. The ice will eventually melt and create unwanted moisture in the vent.

Replacing your AC’s air filter will prevent excess condensation and many other issues. It’s good to change out your home’s air filter every three months, but it might have to be more often if you have furry companions at home or live in a high-pollution area. As for your AC’s coils, it’s best to let an HVAC professional clean them as they are easy to damage.

Excess condensation in your AC vent can have a simple solution, like replacing the air filter or using an air dehumidifier in your home. But other times, it requires the skills and expertise of an HVAC specialist. If you’re dealing with a broken drain line, clogged ducts or other issue, sit back and let a pro handle it.

AC vents

How To Clean Air Conditioner Vents

After vacuuming every nook and cranny of your home, you probably think everything is all clean. But you might be forgetting something—the AC vents. They harbor a lot of dirt and debris, which can end up circulating throughout your home.

You know the vents need a thorough cleaning when you spot dark rings surrounding the ceiling vents. Poor air quality and unpleasant odors inside your home are other telltale signs.

Cleaning the AC vents is an essential chore you must add to your to-do list. It will help keep your AC system and vents in tip-top shape. It’s beneficial to your wallet, too, as it lowers the electricity bill and prevents costly repairs. Fortunately, it’s a straightforward task that an HVAC professional can easily do. Here is how they work:

  • They start by turning off the power supply to your HVAC system so they can work safely.
  • Then, they locate the AC vents and remove the covers with a screwdriver.
  • Next, they will wipe down the vent covers with a damp microfiber cloth and let the covers air dry.
  • They will then use a vacuum and its crevice tool to remove as much dirt as possible from the vents, repeating with the brush attachment.
  • Finally, they will vacuum the grills on the ceiling, replace the vent covers and turn the power back on.

You can keep the vents pristine longer by changing the AC air filters every three months. That way, they can trap dust, dirt and debris before they enter the ductwork. Dusting and vacuuming regularly also helps to keep your space spotless. The less dirt you have in your home, the less gunk there will be in the vents.

While cleaning AC vents is easy for a professional, not everyone is confident in their DIY skills. It’s best to leave it to an HVAC specialist if you’re uncomfortable with the task. It’s also better to call in a professional if you spot mildew in the vents or notice a musty smell.Excessive dust circulating throughout your home is another reason to contact a pro.

an AC unit

What To Do If the Air Conditioner Sounds Like Running Water

Your AC works hard, pulling out the humidity in the air to make you feel more comfortable. If everything’s working smoothly, the excess moisture will make its way from the unit to the outside of your home. Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan. If your AC sounds like running water, the water isn’t draining and the drip pan is probably overflowing. Here are some possible reasons behind this issue.

Dirty Air Filter

If there’s dirt and debris all over your AC’s filter, air can’t flow freely inside the system. And when there’s insufficient air, the evaporator coil will ice over, and the condensation on it will freeze. Eventually, the ice will melt, causing a running water sound. You can easily avoid this issue by changing the air filter every three months.

Refrigerant Leak

When your unit is low on refrigerant, there’s nothing to absorb the heat in the indoor air. That can cause the evaporator coil and the condensation on it to freeze. Once the ice melts, the water will drip all over your floor, causing a running water sound. Get professional help immediately if you suspect the refrigerant is leaking. An HVAC specialist will handle the situation safely.

Dirty Evaporator Coil

An evaporator coil accumulates dirt and debris over time. That prevents the refrigerant inside it from absorbing the heat in the air, causing the evaporator coil to freeze. The condensation on the coil will turn into ice, eventually melt and make a running water sound. An HVAC specialist can resolve this issue.

Let the Pros Handle Your AC Issues

While some AC issues are easy to resolve, others require complex repairs and replacements. If you’re in doubt, let HVAC technicians take over. They can diagnose any AC problem, like if you notice your AC is dripping water, and provide the best solution.

ABC Can Diagnose and Fix AC Problems

If you’re concerned about your AC unit, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our licensed professionals can provide any needed AC diagnosis and repair and are available all day and all night. Our experts can even provide routine AC maintenance to help prolong the life of your system. In addition, they can help you solve common problems like if you notice your AC is not cooling below 75 degrees.

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