Having leaks anywhere in your home is never a good sign. That also applies to seeing any water dripping from your AC vent.
Whatever the cause may be, it’s best to start immediately and find out what the issue is until it becomes a bigger problem than it already is.
Thankfully, when it comes to AC systems, it could be something you can fix yourself if you know what to look for.
So, here are the common reasons why water might be dripping from your AC vent, along with some easy fixes you can do to stop it.
1. Plumbing or roof leak
When you spot water dripping from your AC vent, we bet that your first thought is that it’s a problem with your AC system. Before you troubleshoot any further, it might be a good idea to first rule out plumbing or roof leaks.
In reality, it’s not uncommon to find a roof leak above your duct that has made its way into your system and subsequently, into your AC vent.
2. Improper installation
If you just got your brand new AC system installed and it’s already leaking, keep calm and contact the person/s who installed it.
It could simply be the case of the unit or the drain pan tilting slightly to the side, which causes the condensation collected inside the unit to drip.
For those of you who had the system for a while, read on to find out other probable causes.
3. Air leak around the vent
Most commonly, water dripping from your AC vent results from leaky air vents. If the air is escaping around the grates of your AC vents, it will cause a buildup of condensation that will inevitably start dripping all over the place.
You can test if this is the case by feeling for any air coming out of the sides of the air vent. If the air comes from anywhere besides the grates, you’ve found the cause of your problems.
The fix is straightforward: get some caulk and seal those air leaks.
4. Dirty air filter
Dirty air filters can mess up the regular operation of your AC. As you may already know, condensation ends up in a dripping pan. However, dirty air filters can cause the water to freeze over the evaporator coils.
How does that lead to water dripping from the AC vent?
Well, once you turn off your AC, that layer of ice will start melting and subsequently draining from your vents.
You can fix this problem by swapping out the air filter. We also recommend melting the ice on your coils with a hair dryer to help the unit return to peak performance as quickly as possible.
5. Rusted drip pan
If swapping out the filter didn’t help, maybe the dripping pan is to blame for all that water coming from your AC vent. Power off and remove the unit’s access panel and check the state of the drip pan. If it’s rusted, you should replace it.
Once your new drip pan arrives, you’ll have to disconnect the old one from the drain line with a pair of pliers. Next, you should unscrew or unclip the pan and carefully lift it out.
The good news is that installing the new one is the reverse process, so it can be done real quick.
An important thing to note is that if your drip pan is welded instead of screwed on, you likely need to call an HVAC professional.
6. Uninsulated air ducts
Do your air ducts run through your attic? If they do, remember that most attic spaces are either poorly insulated or not insulated at all. Again, this can cause excess condensation that will leak through your air vents.
First, remove the grating from the air vents and check the status of your insulation. If you don’t see any or if the existing one has heavily deteriorated, go to your nearest and dearest home improvement store and pick up some R-11 fiberglass batt insulation.
The rest of the remedy is pretty simple: just wrap the air duct insulation around your ductwork and voila, you’ll stop the water dripping from your AC vent.
7. Clogged condensate drain line
Without proper maintenance, different components of your AC system can get dirty or clogged. Because the condensate drain line is outside of your home, the problem can get out of hand fairly quickly.
Maybe it got clogged with debris, dirt, mildew, or all kinds of critters that are just looking for a home.
To unclog it, you can manually remove a part of the debris and then top it off with a distilled vinegar solution. However, we recommend using a powerful shop vacuum to clear even the most hardcore debris out there.
8. Refrigerant leak
This one can be a bit tricky. If you see water dripping from your AC vent combined with bad cooling performance or decreased airflow, chances are you’ve got a refrigerant leak on your hands.
Unfortunately, exposing yourself to refrigerants can be very harmful so we don’t recommend tackling this problem alone. Since your safety is a top priority, you should let professionals deal with this serious issue.
9. Malfunctioning condensate pump
A condensate pump is responsible for collecting the water and pumping it outside. So if you’ve tried everything and there’s still water dripping from the AC vent, then this gizmo is the most likely culprit.
What you need to do is locate the pump and find a float switch. Play around with it until you manage to engage the pump. You might free up the switch that’s stuck due to dirt or scum buildup. If the switch is not very consistent, you can use bleach to clear out the bucket.
If the pump still isn’t working, it likely is beyond saving. You can replace it yourself but it might be more simple to contact a professional.
A helping hand
In cases where there is water dripping from your AC vent, you can fix the issue yourself by swapping out the filter or getting caulk from Home Depot. However, some problems are a bit more challenging.
For anything that seems outside your skill level, we recommend you find an HVAC professional to save yourself some serious time.
Contact Aztil AC if you need 24/7 emergency services at an affordable price. We’re available around the clock in Palm Beach, FL, and we also provide regular maintenance if you want to make sure your AC keeps you cool all summer long.