HVAC condensation problems can signal a problem that requires repair or replacement. Too much condensation can lead to water pooling on important parts of your HVAC unit. If you want to make sure your unit is functioning properly, it’s important to pay close attention to condensation.
WHAT IS HVAC CONDENSATION?
Condensation is the appearance of water droplets on the different components of your HVAC system and ductwork. This excess moisture can be a result of many different factors. One possible reason is that there is a large temperature and humidity difference between two areas in your home. The air conditioner creates water droplets as it cools warmer, wetter air.
A poor ability to remove water from your system will also cause condensation. An issue with your ac may be trapping the moisture, or the drain system may be clogged . This can cause excess moisture to build up inside your unit, until eventually it becomes a big problem. Look for water droplets on components, pooling water around the base, or even ice forming on parts of your system.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH HVAC CONDENSATION?
While a bit of water and condensation are ok for your HVAC system, too much can quickly become a problem. Look for water pooling on and around areas of your system like the air handler, compressor, drain lines, and ductwork. Excess water in these areas is a sign that something in your system is not working as efficiently as it should. If this is happening, we recommend getting your system checked by a professional.
SWEATY COPPER PIPES
Exposed copper piping will sweat as temperatures fluctuate in and around it. Most systems have pipe insulation that will seal in moisture and prevent it from reaching different parts of your unit. If this insulation has a tear or hole in it, you’ll see excess moisture building up around the gap. Replacing the moisture barrier and pipe insulation will help with containing excess condensation in these areas.
COMPROMISED VAPOR BARRIERS ON DUCTWORK
Damaged insulation around your ductwork may also cause condensation build-up. The transition between ductwork and the air handler must have a proper vapor barrier around it. This will prevent moisture from leaking down onto electrical components and into other areas of your home.
PLUGGED CONDENSATION DRAIN LINE
A plugged condensation line can result in an overflow of the line and the condensation pans below it. The float switch should turn off your unit when the condensation pans are filled completely.
Watch for float switch failure or pans that continually overflow and cause water leakages. These issues cause significant damage to the interior of your home and your HVAC unit itself. Call a technician to get to the bottom of it. The professional will also clean out drain lines and condensation pans to restore proper function.
CLOGGED EXTERIOR DRAIN LINES
Exterior drain lines run from your house outside into your yard. These can become clogged with dirt and other debris that forces water back up into your unit. Over time, this will cause lots of damage if it is not properly swept away from important parts of your unit. Keep interior and exterior drain lines clean and free from debris to preserve your HVAC system’s optimal function.
DIRTY AIR FILTERS
Another common hvac condensation problem comes from dirty air filters. Debris plugging your air filters can cause your evaporator coils to freeze over.
When they finally do thaw, the excess moisture will overwhelm evaporator condensation pans and leak outside your air handling unit. Keep filters clean, and change them frequently. This will ensure proper airflow and prevent excess moisture from building up in your ductwork and HVAC unit.
DRAIN PAN HOLES
Metal is a common evaporator pan material. These metal pans can rust through years of continued use. If the pan rusts all the way through, water leakage will do serious damage.
Check evaporator coils and condensation pans for signs of corrosion. Replace them as needed to prevent moisture from leaking to different parts of your system.
Make sure your evaporator drain pan is properly sloped down toward the drain. Condensation drain piping and pans must all be sloped to ensure proper flow from your unit. Because water moves downwards, your air handler must be higher than your drain line.
Have a qualified HVAC technician evaluate the position of your air handler in relation to your drain system. They will make sure that everything is moving in the right direction for proper drainage and reduced condensation.
It’s always important to regularly maintain your HVAC system. Cleaning and checking components will ensure your unit’s proper function and continued efficiency. In doing so, you’ll reduce excess moisture in your system, protecting components and possibly extending the life of your system.
Checking ductwork for leaks, inspecting connections and drain lines, and cleaning your system regularly is crucial. This will do much to optimize your HVAC system function and save you money on your monthly energy costs.
WE’RE READY TO TACKLE ANY HVAC ISSUE!
Gallagher’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning has been serving valued clients in the Northern Valley and Greater Sacramento for decades.