Condensation is a natural byproduct of a healthy air conditioning system. Since air conditioning revolves around heating and cooling refrigerant, condensation occurs. Imagine a cold glass of water on a warm day. Water droplets form on the outside. Similarly, when the refrigerant inside your evaporator coils gets cold, the surrounding warm air hits the cold surface and condenses. This condensation drips off of the evaporator coils into the drain pan below, where it is supposed to flow through the drain pipe to the outdoors. Through condensation, your air conditioning system naturally dehumidifies the indoor air. However, it can also lead to iced-over evaporator coils and leaking air conditioning systems.
Clogged condensate drain line
A condensate drain line has the job of draining condensate from the overflow pan into a drain pipe that releases the liquid outdoors. If the condensate line is clogged, it can cause the overflow pan to actually overflow. This is the most common cause of aircon leaks. While newer aircon units can sense when there is a clogged condensate line and will shut down on its own, older units will simply overflow with condensate until you notice the problem yourself. If your unit has automatically shut itself off and you suspect an issue with your condensate drain line or overflow pan, call a professional technician to come check it out and make any necessary repairs or replacements. Regular maintenance for your aircon unit will keep your condensate line from clogging in the first place. To help keep your condensate line clear, we recommend pouring about 6 ounces of vinegar down the drain line every couple of months. This will help kill algae and fungus before it has the chance of clogging your drain line. Solution: Prevent clogged condensate drain lines by regularly pouring some vinegar down the condensate drain line. If it’s too late and your condensate drain line is already clogged, contact a professional to clear it. The best way to prevent clogged aircon drain lines is by scheduling annual air conditioning maintenance. Your aircon technician will make sure your drain pan and drain line are clean and clear.
Damaged overflow pan
The overflow drain pan, located underneath your indoor evaporator coils, catches condensate coming from the aircon unit. This condensation then flows into the condensate drain line to be directed outdoors. By using a flashlight, you’ll be able to locate and evaluate the condition of the overflow pan. Small holes and even cracks can be patched up with water sealant or epoxy glue. If it is beyond a simple repair, however, it’s best to have it replaced. It’s important to know that there are typically two different drain pans, one that is permanently affixed to the unit and other that is further below. While you are able to remove, clean, fix, and replace the auxiliary pan, you will need to contact a professional for any work on the permanent one. Solution: Check the condition of your drain pan for cracks and leaks. While you may be able to use waterproof sealant to fix the leak, it’s probably better to just replace the drain pan. Homeowners can successfully replace the auxiliary pan themselves, but a professional is required for replacing the permanent drain pan. We recommend cleaning the drain pan regularly to prevent clogged drain lines and curb mold and algae growth.
Dirty air filter
A dirty air filter can lead to low airflow and frozen evaporator coils. In order for the evaporator coils to function effectively, there needs to be a sufficient amount of airflow over the coils. If the refrigerant in the evaporator coils doesn’t have the airflow to absorb the heat from the air, condensate will form on the coils and freeze. When the frozen condensate thaws, you may notice leaking water. If there is a clean air filter, but you still have frozen evaporator coils, you may have blocked air vents, a broken blower motor, or undercharged refrigerant. As soon as you notice a frozen air conditioner, turn the unit off and do not turn it back on until the source of the problem has been resolved. Learn why your outdoor heat pump unit may freeze over. Solution: Replace the air filter. We recommend setting reminders for every 30 days to check the condition of your air filter. Depending on a number of factors, you should clean your air filter every 30-90 days. But, never wait more than 90 days to clean your air filter.
With low refrigerant, the evaporator coils will probably freeze. As we learned from a dirty air filter, once water freezes and melts there will be a leak. In this case, when the water melts off the coils, the water will overflow the drain pan. If you air conditioner isn’t working well and you notice noises coming from your unit when it is running, you may have a refrigerant leak. Solution: Never try to fix refrigerant problems on your own. A professional aircon technician will evaluate your system and determine any necessary repairs or maintenance. Keep in mind that refrigerant works in a closed, pressurized loop. You won’t be low on refrigerant unless you have a leak somewhere. Your aircon technician should always repair the leak before adding more refrigerant.
Poor insulation leads to condensation
Moisture around air vents and ductwork could be the result of poorly insulated ducts. Condensation is always something to look out for because it can cause leaks when it builds up in the air conditioning system. Again, think of a cold glass of water on a hot day. When warm air contacts the cold ducts, water can form and cause damage to ceilings and walls. If you notice wet spots around any of your air vents, you may not have enough insulation. The most common reasons why you may see condensation and moisture around your aircon vents are poorly insulated vent boots and not enough insulation in the ducts themselves. Solution: Consult a professional technician who can inspect and identify any issues with the ductwork or insulation.
Hiring a Professional
When your air conditioner needs more than regular maintenance, hire a professional aircon service technician. Our well-trained aircon technician will find and fix problems in your air conditioning system.