When you’re suffering from a broken air conditioner, call Georgia Air Cooling & Heating at 912.513.3724.
You need a fully-functioning air conditioner to stay cool during the hot Georgia summers. So, if you notice condensation on the unit’s vents, you might grow concerned.
What causes condensation on AC vents? Keep reading to learn more and find out how to prevent the issue from occurring.
When you need air conditioner maintenance and services, reach out to Georgia Air Cooling & Heating. As Pooler’s trusted AC repair specialists, they’ll keep you cool and comfortable all summer long.
What Are the Air Conditioning Vents?
Your air conditioner vents are the slatted openings placed around your home that release the cooled air into your rooms after it’s traveled through your ducts. When they get cold, they can drip condensation, a sign that something is wrong. Over time, accumulating condensation can cause water damage, such as mold, peeling paint, or rust on the vent itself.
5 Reasons the Vents Have Condensation
Condensation in your vents doesn’t always indicate air conditioner problems. Climate and ductwork can also cause issues. However, it’s important to consult an HVAC specialist to find the problem and repair it to avoid further, more expensive repairs or replacements.
1. High Humidity
Georgia summers are infamous for high levels of moisture in the air. Because of the extreme difference in temperature between the cooled air and the ambient air in your home, condensation easily forms on your vents. Humidity only makes the condensation worse.
In most cases, high humidity is the best-case scenario for why you see condensation on your vents because it means there’s nothing wrong with your ductwork or air conditioner.
2. Low Refrigerant
What causes condensation on AC vents? One of the most common culprits, especially among aging air conditioners, is low refrigerant levels.
The AC unit’s refrigerant system is self-contained, and thus in most air conditioners, you shouldn’t worry about the levels running low. However, as an air conditioner ages, the wear and tear make leaks more likely, and they can happen anywhere along the process. Without proper levels, your air conditioner can’t maintain cool, dry air, which could result in condensation.
If low refrigerant is your problem, only a certified technician can find the leak, repair it, and restore your levels to normal. The refrigerant components are delicate, and leaks are often the size of a pin or smaller.
Freon, the element used in the refrigerant, is also toxic to the environment and harmful to anyone who breathes it in. Only an HVAC specialist can safely fix refrigerant leaks and properly obtain and dispose of the freon.
3. Blocked Ducks
Your air ducts are responsible for transporting cooled air throughout your home. Without regular cleaning every three to five years, the dust and dirt in your home can build up in them and cause blockages. This drives air back into the ducts. Metal ducts are particularly vulnerable to these issues.
Over time the blockages can cause the ducts to leak. With leaky ducts, not only do you miss out on experiencing cool air in your home, but your air conditioner works harder, ages faster, and requires more frequent repairs.
4. Dirt Buildup
The two primary places in your air conditioner that build up dirt are the air filter and the evaporator coils:
- Air filters: Air filters keep your air clean and pure but are susceptible to dirt buildup if you don’t change them every 30 to 90 days. Dirty filters block the cold air, so you’ll see the condensation on the AC unit itself. They can also cause more severe damage to air conditioners.
- Evaporator coils: A dirty coil blocks your air conditioner from expelling the hot air, trapping it inside, and potentially freezing the AC unit. As the built-up ice warms, it causes condensation to drip from the air conditioner.
If you notice condensation on your AC unit, call an HVAC specialist immediately to diagnose and fix the problem.
5. Clogged Drain Line
A clogged drain line isn’t a direct cause of condensation in your vents. However, it does raise the humidity level.
The drain line runs through your air conditioning system and empties the condensation into the outdoors. When it becomes blocked, the condensation backs up, causing increased moisture in your home. You might not see the condensation itself, but you’ll feel the effects.
If a clogged drain line is your problem, you’ll need professional HVAC services to repair the issue.
Preventing Condensation on Your Vents
Knowing what causes condensation on AC vents isn’t enough. If you want to prevent the problem, regularly practice these four habits.
1. Reduce Moisture
Reducing the moisture and humidity in your home can stop condensation from forming and prevent a variety of problems not only with your HVAC system but with your walls, flooring, and belongings as well.
While you can’t control the weather, you can follow these tips to help reduce the humidity levels in your home:
- Use a dehumidifier: A dehumidifier is the simplest and most straightforward way of reducing humidity in your home, no matter the source. You can purchase individual humidifiers for each room or integrate a whole-home dehumidifier into your HVAC system. If you’re worried about the cost, think about how much money you’ll save long-term when you avoid the damage that humidity causes around your home.
- Improve insulation: Poor insulation allows the outdoor air to leak inside and makes it difficult for your HVAC system to keep up. If you notice your indoor humidity highly reflects the changing humidity outside, you need better insulation throughout your home.
- Use less water: While it may seem insignificant, using water throughout your home adds to your overall indoor humidity. If you notice high humidity levels in your home, reduce the amount of water you use while cooking (like boiling water), bathing, or through decorations like aquariums. When you do use water, avoid features that cause steam, like saunas or hot tubs.
- Partition your home: When you keep your home separated from the outside and your rooms separate from each other, you can better control the flow of humidity throughout your home. During humid days, opening doors and windows to the outside negates your insulation and invites the humidity to permeate your house. You can also keep the doors to each room closed and let your ductwork do its job.
- Reduce ventilation: It’s counterintuitive that venting too much air outside would increase your humidity, but when you vent air out, it leaves negative pressure that air from the outside must enter your home to fill. Only run vent fans in your bathroom and kitchen when you’re producing large amounts of condensation. Running them when you don’t need to actually makes the problem worse.
2. Keep Vents Clear
Routinely check your home for blocked air vents to prevent condensation from building up in your ductwork. Confirm that no furniture blocks the vent or that children have stacked toys in front of them. Even a curtain can provide enough blockage to cause a problem.
Ideally, you should check your home’s vents for blockages before you run your air conditioner, but if that feels overwhelming, make your rounds around the house a couple of times a week to clear any obstructions.
3. Clean Your Air Conditioner
Since air filters and evaporator coils are the two biggest places dirt accumulates, clean both components at regular intervals. Depending on the type of filter you have, it may require cleaning or replacement every 30 to 90 days. If you have pets, smoke, or live in a polluted area, you might benefit from changing it more frequently.
You can clean the evaporator coil with a vacuum cleaner and a can of compressed air. The component is fragile, however, so be careful, or hire an HVAC technician to prevent more serious damage.
4. Regular Maintenance
To keep your air conditioner working well and avoid more costly repairs, schedule maintenance at least once a year. The best time is during the spring before the cold weather hits. Some people also schedule a second maintenance in the fall to confirm their intense summer usage didn’t damage the air conditioner.
What’s included in maintenance? Our plan has a 21-point inspection which includes:
- Checking the evaporator coils
- Verifying your refrigerant levels and refilling them if needed
- Checking your air filter and replacing or cleaning as necessary
- Confirming the thermostat works correctly
- Checking all the electrical components for loose or faulty connections
- Test the airflow of the AC unit and ductwork
Call Georgia Air Cooling & Heating for Air Conditioner Services
Now that you know the answer to, “What causes condensation on AC vents?” you know when to call the specialists at Georgia Air Cooling & Heating. With prompt, professional service and unparalleled expertise, they’ll diagnose and fix the problem so you can return to comfort.