Why Is My Air Conditioner Dripping?


Air conditioner dripping is usually caused by too much water in the condensate pan beneath the coils and a clogged drain line. The pan and the drain line that carries water away from it may be dirty and plugged with debris.

Cleaning the pan and the drain are jobs for heating ventilation and air conditioning professionals. The pan and drain lines should be completely cleaned and opened before the water overflows and harms ceilings or walls.

How it Works

Air conditioning units suck in hot, humid air and direct it over cold evaporator coils. The cooled air is then forced through another duct into room vents. The humid Florida air condenses when it hits the cold coils, and water drips into the pan usually below the coils. The water is directed outside through a PVC drain or tube, depending on the size of the AC unit.

The size of the pan and the drain are in proportion to the unit. This is why window AC units must have part of the unit, including the exhaust, outside. Your home’s HVAC motor is vented and often located outside near the drain line.

Air Circulation

Your condensate pan and drain can become clogged with debris, sludge, mold, dust and even insect remains. This is debris that is sucked in with the hot air. Large HVAC units in residential and commercial buildings must have their pans and drains cleaned on a regular basis.

HVAC system filters in most homes need to be changed every 1 to 3 months or so to keep the suctioned air moving through the ducts. Lack of air circulation can also cause mold to build up in a damp, dirty pans and ducts. Air ducts must remain free of debris for the coils to work efficiently. Duct work should always be checked for cracks and tears that could obstruct airflow.

A clogged filter can cause the evaporator coils to freeze since they are not getting enough warm air. Melted water may result in excessive air conditioner dripping into the pan when the warm air finally reaches the coils.

The Remedy

It is a common misconception that bleach and household cleaners help prevent clogged drains. They don’t. However, there are steps your HVAC technician can perform to fix and prevent clogs.

A professional HVAC technician will use a special vacuum system to remove debris from the condensate line. The drain pan may also be rusted and need replacing. They usually last for about 12-15 years. In our service, we install microbial pan tabs during maintenance to prevent microbial growth and clogs. We also recommend that safety float switches be installed on both the main drain and the overflow pan to shut down the unit should the drain become clogged.

A broken condensate pump motor needs to be replaced at times as well. This is the motor that pumps out the water in some HVAC systems, especially those installed in basements.

Contact Ball Building Services for an early summer air conditioning tune-up to guarantee that your system will work efficiently during Florida’s hottest days. Ball Building Services inspects and repairs HVAC units in the Tampa Bay area and Central Florida with immediate service to prevent air conditioner dripping and other problems.