Dampness in the walls or yellowing of the walls around the vents is a sign of leaking vents. For any homeowner, this is a problem that can have grave consequences. It can cause mold formation, algae growth, water puddles that destroy the floor, damage the furniture, and increase indoor humidity. To avoid costly repairs, one needs to take prompt action. But have you ever wondered why the leaks occur in AC vents?
Leak In AC Vents – Where Does The Water Come From?
To understand the reason for the leak, you need to first know where the water comes from. Once that mystery is solved, it will become easier to look for the cause and address it.
The air conditioner absorbs the heat or the warmth from the air along with moisture to make it cool. When this moisture comes in contact with the cold evaporator coils, condensation occurs, and it turns into water droplets. From the coil, the water drips into the drip pan, and from there, it drains outdoor through the drain line. When this water fails to drain out, it drips inside. So this is where the water that leaks via the vents comes from.
Leak In AC Vents – Probable Causes
Routine maintenance of the heating and cooling system should ideally address all the problems that could lead to a leak in AC vents. However, due to circumstances beyond our control, one may still have to face this issue. Here is a glimpse at the various reasons that could result in it:
1. Clogged Drainpipe – If the drainpipe has something stuck inside it that prevents the water from flowing out, it backs up, causing spillage. Usually, the vents start leaking water if the air conditioning unit is installed in the attic. It is because the overflow from the drip tray flows down into the air ducts or the air vents.
The Solution – To verify that you are dealing with a clogged drainpipe, you need to check the drip tray. If it is full, you indeed have a blocked drain pipe to deal with. Thankfully, it does not require any extensive work and is a fix you can deal with yourself. Armed with a vacuum cleaner, you can suck out the blockage. Once it is out, flush some water down the drain line to ensure that nothing else remains inside, and the problem is resolved.
2. Cracked Drip Tray – Corrosion can cause cracks to develop in the drip pan or the drip tray. Due to these cracks, the tray is unable to hold any water. Whatever condensate comes down from the evaporator coils, immediately flows out of the cracks. Again, when the AC unit is installed in the attic, the condensate flows down to the air vents.
The Solution – You have two options in this case. One is to seal all the cracks to prevent any leaks. But this is a viable solution only if the cracks are not wide. If they are wide, you have to go with the second option, which is to replace the drip tray with a new one. The homeowner can perform both these activities. Nonetheless, if doubtful, the best is to always call the HVAC contractor.
3. Air Filters Dirty – Dirty air filters cause the AC to freeze up. What it essentially means is that lack of air freezes the evaporator coil. If the filters are not replaced, the icing continues and spreads to other parts. When the AC is switched off, the ice starts to melt and sometimes drips down through the vents.
The Solution – The solution is rather simple. Replace the air filters with new ones periodically, and your AC will not freeze anymore. When the AC does not freeze anymore, water will not drip down from the vents.
4. Uninsulated ducts – In most homes, the attic is either not insulated or has inferior insulation. If the ducts in your home run mainly through the attic, the lack of proper insulation results in the buildup of condensation within the ducts. This condensate flows out from the vents in the form of water droplets.
The Solution – It is always a good idea to ask your HVAC technician to check the insulation in the attic. If there is no insulation or if its quality is poor, you need to upgrade it to better quality. Once the insulation is taken care of, there will be no condensate buildup anymore.
5. Air Leaking From The Vents – Ideally, no air should leak out of the vents. The air inside the vents should flow out from the grates directly into the rooms. If air leaks out, the mixing of hot and cold air causes the buildup of condensate, which drips down from the vents.
The Solution – You need to first identify all those places from where the air is leaking out. Now identifying these spots may not be an easy task. If need be, ask the HVAC technician for assistance. Once the spots have been identified correctly, seal them using caulk.
6. Faulty Sump Pump – Some air conditioners use a sump pump to drain the water collect in the drip pan. When the water in the pan reaches a certain level as determined by the float valve of the pump, it activates and drains out the excess water. Scum and limescale buildup can cause the float valve to get stuck due to which it does not trigger the pump action.
The Solution – Manually shift the float valve a couple of times to loosen the scum or limescale formation around it. If that does not solve the problem, call your local HVAC technician to check out the problem as the pump itself may have developed a fault. The worst-case scenario is that a new pump will have to be installed.
In The End
Not all air conditioning problems are always significant. Sometimes, the reason behind them is small and something that the homeowner can deal with himself. However, that is one call that they have to make themselves. We always preach calling the HVAC technician to avoid worsening the problem.
In West Palm Beach, Florida, the residents can call the air experts at Aztil Air Conditioning for any HVAC related issues. We can be reached anytime at +1-888-729-8452.