What Is AC Condensation?

What Is AC Condensation?

white air compressor of the house wall

You may notice water dripping from your AC while it works overtime in the summer heat—or just the Texas heat any time of year! While some amount of dripping water is normal, certain telltale signs could indicate a serious problem requiring AC repair.

Dripping water is usually the result of condensation. While some condensation is normal in air conditioners, how much is too much?

What Is Condensation?

the window on wet ground

Condensation occurs when water vapor (steam) turns back into liquid water.

A common example of condensation is the “fog” on the surface of a cold glass of water in a hot room. Here, the heat of the hot room causes some of the water from the glass to evaporate and some immediately condenses back into liquid water. This reaction (condensation) forms the water droplets (or “fog”) on the outside of the glass.

Common Causes of AC Condensation

Condensation can occur in air conditioners for several reasons, one of the most common simply being hot weather. Air conditioners that only produce condensation during especially hot days usually don’t have an underlying problem.

However, your air conditioner may have a problem if it constantly produces condensation regardless of the temperature. Underlying causes of excessive condensation from air conditioning include:

Damage to Duct Insulation

Your air conditioner’s ducts are what allow air to circulate. When humid air from outside comes in contact with the cold air inside the ducts, water vapor from the humidity condenses into water droplets inside the ducts.

Insulation usually prevents water from forming inside the ducts. If this insulation is missing, however, condensation can form and cause damage to the air conditioner and surrounding surfaces.

Insulation damage can also occur around your air conditioner’s “boot,” which is the metal tube connecting the ducts to the outside-facing metal grille.

Clogged Condenser Lines or Pumps

Condensation can also occur when one of the lines connected to your air conditioner’s condenser becomes clogged.

Your air conditioner’s condenser helps dehumidify humid air through—you guessed it—condensation. Here, water vapor comes from the humid air being conditioned and is expelled as liquid water into your AC’s drip pan.

Of course, dripping is a natural part of this process. Here, the condensed water is usually transported into the drip pan through condenser lines and/or a condenser pump. If one (or both) of these devices malfunctions or becomes clogged, however, condensation and dripping water can accumulate in unexpected areas.

Evaporator Coil Problems

Condensation can also indicate a frozen evaporator coil. Common signs of a frozen evaporator coil are minimal airflow and water dripping a shortly after turning off the AC.

How Much Condensation Is Too Much?

Some condensation is normal in most air conditioners—after all, condensation is a natural byproduct of the air conditioning process. However, excessive condensation from air conditioning can cause serious damage over time.

The effects of excessive condensations are fairly obvious; depending on your air conditioner’s location, excessive condensation can cause water damage to your walls and ceiling. Other signs include rust and/or excessive dripping around the drip pan and air vents.

Fixing AC Condensation

Is your air conditioner unit leaking water? The root causes can be hard to diagnose. For a full diagnostic and complete repair services, call our experts at MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning for home air conditioning repairs at 281-599-3336.

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