An air conditioner’s evaporator coils are prone to condensation as they cool warm air that passes over them. However, the condensate should drip into a drain pan and get eliminated from your home through a drain line. Therefore, excessive condensation on an AC signifies a problem.
When an AC produces so much condensation, it may be due to a clogged condensate drain line, dirty air filters, broken drain pan, or incorrect installation. Solutions include inspecting the drain pan or the condensate drain line and cleaning or replacing the air filters.
In the rest of this article, I’ll take you through the different reasons your AC produces so much condensation. I’ll also explain how to fix these problems to get the AC working normally. Let’s get started!
1. Dirty Air Filters
The air filters in your AC are crucial to ensuring the system functions correctly. These filters trap particulates and pollutants like dust, pet dander, mold, and fungal spores.
As the air filters trap pollutants, they also get dirty over time. When this happens, the dirt blocks airflow to the evaporator coil. Consequently, the evaporator coil freezes, releasing excess water that can be catastrophic to the AC’s operation.
It’s advisable to have your AC’s air filters cleaned regularly. This will ensure that no dirt accumulates in the filters to obstruct airflow in the evaporator coils.
How To Fix?
The solution is to inspect your AC’s air filters and either replace or clean them. The best way to carry out an air filter inspection is to remove the filters from their chamber and hold each to light. If the filter is semi-transparent, meaning it allows light to pass through, then it’s clean and doesn’t need to be cleaned or replaced.
Otherwise, if the air filter blocks light, it means it’s dirty and must be cleaned.
Use the procedure below to clean your AC’s air filters:
- Lift and remove the front panel of your air conditioner.
- Unclick the air filters and remove them from the chamber.
- Remove light dust by low-power vacuuming.
- Wash the air filters with lukewarm water to remove the heavier dirt.
- Allow the air filters to dry.
- Check the heat exchanger and clean it with a vacuum cleaner once it has cooled to prevent moisture accumulation.
- Replace the air filters and front panel.
Here is a video that demonstrates how to clean an air conditioner’s air filters:
2. A Clogged Condensate Drain Line
The condensate drain line is the part that prevents excess moisture build-up in the AC. It drips out moisture as the system works, preventing condensation and water accumulation that can destroy insulation and ductwork.
It’s worth mentioning that the condensate drain line is not immune to dust, mold, and debris. As the drain line stays for long, it can accumulate dirt, becoming clogged and unable to release the condensate.
As a result, water accumulates in the drain pan and overflows, causing excessive condensation on the AC’s exterior parts.
How To Fix?
The solution is to inspect the condensate drain line for blockages and remove them if necessary. Here’s how:
- Turn off the air conditioner.
- Connect a vacuum cleaner to the AC’s drain pipe outside your house. Turn on the vacuum cleaner for about three minutes to suck any debris blocking the pipe.
- Identify the drain line’s access point; it’s a T-shaped vent with a cover.
- Remove the cover and inspect the line for blockage.
- Flush the drain line with distilled white vinegar.
- Allow the distilled vinegar to stay in the pipe for 30 minutes to clear the clogs.
- Flush the line with water to remove any residue from the vinegar.
- Replace the cover and turn on your AC.
3. A Broken Drain Pan
The drain pan is where excess condensation builds up before it drains out through the condensate drain line. This drain pan can also break over time, spilling excessive condensate instead of channeling it through the drain line.
The main reason why AC drain pans break is because of rust. As the pan holds the condensed water, it gets exposed to moisture and air, leading to rust accumulation over time.
It’s recommended to replace the drain pan every 10 to 15 years. This is typically the duration after which the drain pan oxidizes and rusts, leading to breakage.
It’s worth noting that water spillage from the drain pan also exposes the internal parts of the AC to damage like rusting.
How To Fix?
If the drain pan breaks, the solution is to replace it with a new one. Here’s the procedure:
- Turn off the air conditioner and locate the drain pan below or beside it.
- Remove any debris or water present in the old drain pan.
- Remove the old drain pan by unscrewing and de-latching it from its position.
- Install the new drain pan in place of the old one, securely latching or screwing it into position.
- Turn on your AC to check if the condensation problem has been fixed.
4. Incorrect Installation
Although incorrect installation is a minor issue, it contributes to the production of too much condensation in an AC. This includes the improper installation of AC parts like the drain line and condensate drain line. When these parts are installed incorrectly, they affect the proper draining of condensate, leading to water overflow. You’ll detect the overflow as condensation on the exterior parts of the AC.
How To Fix?
The solution is to have a professional inspect your AC’s installation and correct any mistakes. It’s crucial to note that fixing incorrect installation should always be done by an expert in AC maintenance and repair. DIY fixes may lead to further damage and malfunctions.
Incorrect installation may also be a sign of a faulty AC unit. Therefore, it’s advisable to have a professional inspect the entire unit if you suspect it’s not working correctly. This way, the professional can detect any underlying issues and fix them before they worsen.
5. Insufficient Refrigerant
Air conditioners use refrigerant to cool the hot air to attain a conducive indoor temperature. When the AC runs low on refrigerant, it becomes less efficient in cooling, leading to freezing in the evaporator coil.
Needless to say, a frozen evaporator coil is a recipe for too much condensation since the frozen coil produces more water as it thaws.
A leak is the main reason for insufficient refrigerant in ACs. Leaks can result from cracks or holes in the AC unit’s coils, valves, and connecting pipes.
How To Fix?
The solution is to have a professional HVAC technician check and refill the refrigerant to the desired level.
The professional will also assess the cause of insufficient refrigerant, whether it’s due to leaks or other factors, and fix them to prevent future losses. This should restore the AC’s normal functioning.
Risks of Excessive AC Condensation
Too much AC condensation poses the following risks:
- Mold growth: Moisture is one of the conditions necessary for mold growth. Too much condensation creates sufficient moisture for mold to grow.
- Water damage: Excessive condensation on the walls and floors can lead to water damage in your home. The consequence is costly repairs as some materials, like drywall, cannot withstand water.
- AC malfunctions: As mentioned, condensation overflow can damage the internal parts of the AC, leading to the unit malfunctioning. This may require professional repair or replacement.
Excessive condensation from your AC indicates that you need to take action. The issue is mainly a result of a clogged condensate drain line. When this happens, the drain line can’t drain the water outside, creating a buckling effect. The only solution is to clear the clog or replace the drain line.