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Why Is Water Dripping From My AC Vent?

Discovering that water is dripping from the AC vent is a concerning issue. Discovery usually comes from feeling droplets of water whenever one goes near AC vents or noticing a yellowish hue next to the area where the AC vents are. That discoloration is usually due to the moisture that has accumulated in the ceiling and is somehow causing water damage.

There are multiple possible reasons why water will drip from air conditioning vents. A homeowner must address this right away as it can cause more issues that are complicated and costlier to address.

9 Common causes of dripping water from the AC water vent

Dripping water from the air conditioning vent is never a normal occurrence. Homeowners should investigate the circumstances right away or call for a professional AC inspection before the problem goes out of hand. Shrugging off possible repairs could mean more complex issues that are not only confined to the AC operations such as mold growth, and other structural issues. To easily address this, get in touch with a reliable AC contractor in San Diego. Below are some of the most common causes of water drips:

1. Clogged condensate drain line

When the condensate drain line is filled up to the brim or clogged, water will try to flow elsewhere. Usually, when the condensation builds up in the air vents, the water that comes from it will drip through the AC vents. It is also possible that the drip pan is too full, and since the condenser is installed in a higher area at home, the excess water gets to drip through the vents.

To solve this problem, check the drain pan of the outdoor unit. If it is filled to the brim, then the drain line is indeed clogged. A homeowner can clear the drain line himself or he can call for professional AC cleaning.

Another thing to check is if there is rust on the furnace, as this also means that the condensate drain is clogged. If this holds, the homeowner should immediately seek professional maintenance care from a licensed AC contractor. A rusty furnace is an area of immediate concern since corrosion can cause serious furnace failure.

2. Air is leaking around the AC Vent

If air escapes through gaps in the AC vent, it can cause condensation that in turn turns into water that will drip through the vents themselves. Homeowners can check for air escaping through the vent, and if there is any, then they could seal the leak by caulking through the gaps. Caulking material is available in home improvement stores and is commonly used in sealing leaks.

3. Uninsulated ducts that give way to condensation

When ductwork is uninsulated, condensation could set in and the water that it produces can drip through the AC vents. Sometimes ducts that are in the attic area are uninsulated, and chances are, these are the ones that produce condensation. Fortunately, the solution is simple: wrapping insulation on the uninsulated ductwork.

After confirming that the ductwork in question is uninsulated, purchase an R-11 or R-13 Fiberglass batt and wrap them around the problematic ductwork.

4. Dirty AC filters

A dirty AC filter will always be one of the possible reasons why is my heat pump freezing up in the summer or winter. So, it is not surprising to say that it could also prompt water to drip through the AC vents. Dirty filters can cause the air conditioner to freeze up and eventually drip water through the vents.

If this is the problem, then try changing the filters and see if it does stop the dripping. If not, then get in touch with a professional for an AC check.

5. Leaking refrigerant

Low levels or leaking refrigerants could cause water to drip from the AC vent. Since low refrigerant levels keep humidity within the evaporator coils and could cause it to freeze over, the ice that melts could be the water that drips from the vents.

To confirm whether the culprit is leaking refrigerant, check as well if the coolness level f the air conditioning has changed. If the AC is not producing cool air like before, or there is relatively lower airflow than usual then leaking refrigerant is the root of the problem. Get in touch with a certified AC technician since the refrigerant is a chemical best handled by trained professionals. Unprotected exposure to it can be harmful. 

6. Broken condensate pump

A broken condensate pump may be the reason why water is dripping from the AC vents. Sometimes, even if the condensate drain line is clean, the drip pan can still get filled with water and cause this excess water to drip through the vents.

If this is so, then most likely the AC’s condensate pump is failing. Usually, upon reaching a certain level, the pump automatically turns on to expel water from the system. If it is malfunctioning, it cannot do so, hence water builds up and drips through the vents.

There are several ways to resolve this issue. The first is by manually checking on the pump. Try to check the float switch if it moves and prompts the pump to turn on. If it does not, inspect if there is a limescale build-up in the area surrounding the switch. Try removing a bit of the scum to see if the pump will work. If it does then the best solution is to clean the limescale from the switch and test if it improves the AC’s operations.

If however, it does not seem easy to find the float switch then check for a string or cable connected to it then try to pull it. Try to manipulate the pump to check if it is working, but do not let it run dry for a relatively long period as it can cause issues. If it is inconsistently working then it needs cleaning. If it is not working then it needs replacement. Homeowners can either purchase a replacement condensate pump or call in professionals like us from Reliable Standard Heating and Air for a hassle-free repair and replacement service. 

7. Freezing evaporator coils

When the ac evaporator coils are frozen, they will soon melt and cause water to drip through the AC vents. The best way to check if this is causing water to drop from your vents is by removing the AC filter and checking on the coils. If it seems frozen, then that is indeed the issue. What to do when your ac unit freezes up and causes a problem, you should consider calling an hvac tech.

There are several reasons why evaporator coils will freeze, and the primary reason is leaking refrigerant. Get in touch with a certified AC technician to rule out this problem and troubleshoot the issue at hand.

8. Leaks from the roof or plumbing fixtures

Sometimes, air conditioning is not the issue. Yes, water may be coming from the AC vents, but air conditioner trouble is not the culprit. Water leaks from the roof can make their way through the AC vents and drip through the house. The same goes for plumbing leaks. If any of these seems suspicious, then it is best to double-check and seek professional servicing from a roofing contractor or a licensed residential plumber.

9. Do not shrug off dripping water from AC vents

Apart from the annoying water drips, there are a host of issues that could result in the postponement of repairs on AC vents. These include warping of paint or wallpaper; mold or mildew growth; disintegration of ceiling structure, and other possible accidents. Do not let this problem get out of hand, and call for professional AC servicing as soon as possible.

Let Reliable Standard Heating and Air keep your home cool

At Reliable Standard Heating, Air, & Solar, we are more than happy to keep your house cool and comfortable. Our expert and certified air conditioning technicians can work across all brands and types of AC systems and are ready to help you with your repair, maintenance, and installation needs. Call us up on our hotline, or schedule a visit using our online system. Get in touch with us today.

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