If your air conditioner ducts are forming droplets around the vent openings, it means your AC vents are cold enough to pool condensation around it. This is not necessarily a cause for alarm, but these water droplets eventually drip out of your AC, which can be annoying to some.
Much like leaving a cold glass of water outside during the summer, condensate forms on your air ducts because the vents are cooler than the surrounding air. Water vapor tends to pool around cold surfaces, causing ductwork sweating. Here are the 5 most common reasons for condensation on air ducts:
5 Reasons for Condensation on Air Ducts
Reason #1 High Humidity Level
Depending on where you live, the air around your HVAC system might have high humidity levels. The more moisture there is in the air, the more likely condensate would form small water pools on cold surfaces. A humid environment causes droplets to form around the air ducts, causing ductwork sweating.
High humidity can be caused by room humidifiers, cooking, boiling water, indoor gardens, and using hot showers that cause steam to circulate around the house. An air dehumidifier would help remove the excess moisture from the air, decreasing the condensate levels on your air conditioning system.
Reason #2 Low Refrigerant Levels
Low refrigerant levels cause your AC unit to freeze up, and cease to function properly. Your room becomes humid as the air conditioner cannot properly maintain dry, cold air inside. Condensate then forms around the AC ducts, causing air vents to sweat. You may have low refrigerant due to a leak, so consult an HVAC technician to fix the issue.
Reason #3 Blocked Ducts
Blocked ducts restrict air flow, which can drive the cold air back onto the AC unit. As the AC unit cools, condensate forms around the vents, eventually causing leaking ducts as the condensation continues to pool around the vents. This is especially common for metal ducts that cool down faster than other insulating materials.
Reason #4 Dirty Air Filters and Coils
Dirty air filters and evaporator coils can cause a myriad of problems for the air conditioner. Dirty filters block air flow, which keeps the cold air within the unit, cooling it down and attracting condensation on your AC.
A dirty evaporator coil, on the other hand, can freeze up your AC, which leads to water dripping out of the unit as the ice melts. The ice also significantly cools down the unit, leading to condensation on AC ducts.
Reason #5 Clogged Drain Line
A clogged drain line may not directly cause ductwork sweating, but it can add to the humidity level in the room. A clogged drain line would cause water to back up into the unit, and leak water out of the air conditioning ducts. You will need to repair leaking ducts and drain lines immediately before the water damages your AC unit.
5 Tips to Prevent Condensation on Air Ducts
Tip #1 Keep the Air Conditioner Dry
Keep the room dry to prevent condensation on AC ducts. Use a dehumidifier every time you use your air conditioning unit to remove as much of the moisture in the air as possible. This is the prime way of preventing ductwork sweating, and to keep mold growth from thriving within your AC unit.
Tip #2 Go for Aircon Services
Part of aircon maintenance is keeping the AC parts functioning properly. Our Luce Aircon technicians will ensure your refrigerant lines are in good condition, and top up freon as well. Have your aircon checked at least once a year for good maintenance, and you may even catch weak points before they turn into bigger problems for you later on!
Tip #3 Ensure AC Vents are Clear
Make sure your AC vents are completely clear of any debris or blockage before you use your air conditioning unit. If you have a central AC with metal ductwork, you may have placed heavy furniture over the vents. Keep the vents clear for proper air circulation.
Tip #4 Clean Your Air Conditioner
You can clean your air filters and evaporator coil at home using a vacuum cleaner and some compressed air. For the air filter, we recommend washing the mesh under soap and running water to remove the stuck-on grime. For the evaporator coil, use a vacuum cleaner to remove loose dust, then blast away any remaining grime using a can of compressed air.
Tip #5 Go for Professional Aircon Cleaning
Contact one of our Luce Aircon technicians for professional aircon cleaning services twice a year. These would ensure your aircon parts are thoroughly cleaned, and functioning properly. Air conditioners need professional cleaning every six months to keep the unit clear from grime and debris that could lead to potential problems in the future.
Check out our article on signs ac needs freon recharge!