January 2, 2023
HVAC Maintenance in Sacramento, CA.

Condensation on your HVAC unit can signal a significant problem that often necessitates repair or replacement. Excess water making contact with various components in your system can be potentially dangerous, so prompt attention to this matter is necessary to ensure your HVAC unit’s proper function.

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 primary reason you may be seeing excess moisture is that there is a significant temperature and humidity difference between the two areas in your home. If the air inside your HVAC unit is a different temperature than the air outside, you’re likely to see water beads form upon exterior fixtures.

Condensation is also caused by overcooling or a poor ability to remove water from your system. If your air conditioner is failing to remove moisture properly or if your drain line is blocked, this can cause excess moisture to build up inside your unit. You may see water droplets on components, pooling water around the base, or even ice forming on different components of your system.

While a certain amount of moisture is to be expected with these systems, excess condensation poses a significant problem for your unit.

What’s the Problem With HVAC Condensation?

While intermittent water and condensation are acceptable for a well-functioning HVAC system, there may be cause for worry when water begins to pool on and around areas of your system such as the air handler, the 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. Having a professional HVAC technician diagnose and repair the problem could reduce the risk of incurring higher-than-normal repair bills and early system replacement. Be on the lookout for these system failures, however small, and do what you can to protect and optimize your HVAC system function.

Sweaty Copper Pipes

Exposed copper piping will sweat as temperatures fluctuate in and around it. Most systems have an insulation barrier called 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 this weakness; replacing the moisture barrier and pipe insulation will be effective in containing excess condensation in these areas.

Compromised Vapor Barriers on Ductwork

If the insulation surrounding the air handler is torn, this area of your unit can also sweat and form condensation. The transition between ductwork and the air handler must have a proper vapor barrier around it to 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 both the line itself and the condensation pans required to catch water from your unit. In many units, there is a float switch designed to trigger a power down if condensation pans are full to the brim. Float switch failure or pans that continually overflow and cause water leakages in your system can cause significant damage to the interior of your home and your HVAC unit itself. Call a technician to get to the root cause of the excess condensation issue and 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, mulch, algae, leaves, and other outside debris that causes water to force its way back inside your home and your unit. This water will do significant damage over time if it is not properly swept out and away from electrical components in your unit; keep interior and exterior drain lines clean and free from debris and obstructions to preserve your HVAC system’s optimal function.

Dirty Air Filters

If your air filter is extremely plugged with debris, this additional dirt and sludge will clog up evaporator coils, causing them to freeze. 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 to ensure proper airflow and prevent excess moisture from building up in your ductwork and HVAC unit.

Drain Pan Holes

Some evaporator drain pans are comprised of metal; they can rust through years of continued use. In cases where condensation and leaking have gone on for some time, it may be necessary to replace the entire air handling unit. Check evaporator coils and condensation pans for signs of corrosion, and replace them as needed to prevent moisture from leaking to different parts of your system.

Slope Issues

If your evaporator drain pan is not properly sloped down toward the drain, then water will not drain properly. Condensation drain piping and pans must all be sloped to ensure proper flow from your unit. 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, making sure that everything is moving in the right direction for proper drainage and reduced condensation.

Insulation Problems

Poor insulation in and around your system can lead to fluctuation in temperatures, which can lead to the development of moisture in different parts of your system. Keeping ductwork and pipes properly insulated will prevent excess moisture from building up and causing damage to your system.

Proactive Prevention

It’s always important to regularly maintain your HVAC system, cleaning and checking components to 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 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. We offer exceptional heating and air conditioning service, plumbing repair and replacement, and maintenance plans that serve our clients’ best needs. Additionally, look to us for your indoor air quality, duct cleaning, and water heater and purification needs. Our highly trained and skilled technicians can easily handle various appliance makes and models for your convenience. Our company is fully licensed, bonded, and EPA certified, and we deliver polite and professional service with every call.

No matter what your plumbing or HVAC issue is, we are committed to finding solutions that work for your home, your time, and your budget. Let us optimize your HVAC system function and keep you up and running when you need it most. Contact us today to set your next appointment.

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