Why is Water Dripping From my AC Vent?


If you see your AC vent dripping water, it could be quite concerning. This is one of those issues that can quickly become very costly if not addressed in a timely manner. Not to mention, by allowing you vent to drip water for an extended period of time can lead to mold growth and property damage. Let’s break down why your AC vents begin to leak in the first place.   

Why is my AC Vent Leaking Water? 

An air conditioning unit works by taking warm air and moisture and converting it to cool air by pushing it through something called an evaporator coil. As air get pulled in, condensation begins to build up and drip from the coils into something that’s called a drip pan. The drip then pan releases the water into your home’s draining system. 

Servicing your HVAC unit on a regular basis will help to ensure that all the components of your system are working properly. There are some forms of HVAC maintenance that can be performed on your own, but it is best to leave the more complicated issues to a licensed HVAC technician.

Most Common Reasons Your HVAC Vent is Leaking Water

  1. Condensate Drain Line is Clogged

Typically, when you find yourself with a leaky vent, it means that your drain pipe is clogged with mildew, mold, debris, sludge, or dust. This is to be expected over long periods of time since the space is fully enclosed and constantly filtering out water. Routine maintenance checks on your HVAC system can help prevent you from running into these issues. A professional HVAC technician can come out once or twice a year to flush out your pipe drain as a precautionary measure to prevent clogs, as well as the lifespan of your AC unit.

  1. Refrigerant is Leaking

If the refrigerant in your AC unit gets too low, the evaporator coil will then begin to freeze and become covered in a layer of ice. Once the ice on the coils melts, water begins to overflow the drip pan. Depending on the severity of the refrigerant leak, this could result in having to replace your entire air conditioning system. If you think you may be experiencing a refrigerant leak, it is important to contact a trusted HVAC specialist as soon as possible. Keep in mind that prolonged exposure to refrigerant leaks may result in poisoning to you or your loved ones. 

Some other ways of identifying refrigerant leaks are hissing sounds coming from your air conditioner, your AC stops cooling your home, or you notice ice forming around the condenser unit.

  1. Drain Pan Needs to Be Replaced

The drip pan, commonly referred to as the drain pan, may become damaged or rusted over a long period of time. As condensation drips into a damaged or worn out drain pan, the water can begin to leak out into the vents. If this is the case, look up the make and model of your HVAC system and purchase a new drain pan from any hardware store. If you are unfamiliar with installing a drip pan, it may be a safe bet to give a certified HVAC technician a call to come out and get the job done quickly and efficiently. 

  1. Air Filter is Dirty and Needs to be Replaced

It is best practice to replace your air filter every 3-6 months. If you don’t, dust and debris will build up on the filter, which could result in a blockage in your air flow. When your filters are blocking air flow, the condensation on the coils freezes over, instead of ripping into the drain pan. That will eventually melt, which may result in your vents leaking water. 

Changing your fair filters on a regular basis is the best way to prevent blockages in your air conditioning system. Although standard practice states ou should change your air filters every 3-6 months, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration:

  • Do you have any pets? If so, how many? Do they shed?
  • How many people are living in your home?
  • Does anyone in your home smoke inside the home?
  • Does anyone in your home suffer from allergies?

Asking a professional HVAC technician how often you should change your air filter based on the factors listed above, would be the best and most accurate solution. 

  1. Condensate Pump Needs to be Repaired or Replaced

Water is pumped out of your home through a HVAC component called a condensate pump. If your condensate pump motor is malfunctioning, the water in the condensate line will not beagle to drain properly. This can cause leaks from your air vents as well.

How to Clean a Clogged Drain Line 

Although we highly recommend calling a licensed HVAC technician to help with cleaning out an HVAC drain line, there are a few things you can try on your own if you feel comfortable enough to do so. Follow the steps below. Note: if you suspect that your condensate pump is broken or malfunctioning, it is important to contact a local HVAC specialist to come out and assess it immediately. 

Step 1: Make sure your AC unit is powered OFF

Step 2: Use a wet/dry shop vac to remove any water from the drain pan.

Step 3: Locate and remove any debris or buildup from the drainage area. Go outside and locate the drain pipe. Take a look inside the drain pipe to see if you can identify any blockages. If it looks clear, examine the area above your AC unit and make sure there are no branches or leaves that could potentially fall into the unit. 

Step 4: Carefully remove the cap located on the top of the drain pipe. Using a small but sturdy wire brush, scrub and clear away as much of the clog as possible. 

Step 5: Once you have cleared the blockage, take one cup of bleach and pour it into the drip pan, as well as on top of the drain pipe. The bleach will help to eliminate any mold, mildew, or algae that may have built up over time. This will also help to prevent bacterial regrowth for a while as well. 

Step 6: Put the cap back onto the top of the drain pipe and power your AC unit to the ON position. If you are noticing that the problem persists, you should contact a licensed HVAC technician as soon as possible.

Preventative HVAC Maintenance Services in Nashville

Prevent yourself from coming home to an unwanted and inconveniencing surprise of water leaking from your air conditioning vents and into your home. Schedule preventative maintenance HVAC services with your locally trusted air conditioning experts from FiveStar. We will take our time to inspect each and every component of your heating and cooling system to keep everything running smoothly and efficiently. Call FiveStar at (615) 382-8131 or schedule an appointment with a certified HVAC technician today.