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AC Vents

What Causes Condensation on AC Vents?

If your air conditioner is broken, call Carrano Air HVAC Contractors Inc. at 732 329-3784.

You need a fully functioning air conditioner to stay cool in the hot New Jersey summers. So if you notice condensation on the device vents, you might be concerned.

What causes condensation on air vents? Read on to learn more and find out how to prevent the problem.

When you need maintenance and service for your air conditioner, contact Carrano Air HVAC Contractors Inc. As the trusted Edison air conditioning repair specialist, they’ll make sure you stay cool and comfortable all summer long.

What Are the Air Conditioning Vents?

Your air conditioner vents are louvered openings placed around your home that release cooled air into your rooms after passing it through your ducts. Condensation may drip on it as it cools, a sign that something is wrong. Over time, the build-up of condensation can lead to water damage such as mold, peeling paint, or rusting on the vent itself.

5 Reasons the Vents Have Condensation

Condensation in your vents doesn’t always indicate air conditioning problems. Air conditioning and plumbing can also cause problems. However, it is important to consult an HVAC specialist to find and fix the problem to avoid more expensive repairs or replacements.

1. High Humidity

Summers in New Jersey are notorious for their high humidity. Condensation easily forms on your vents due to the extreme temperature difference between the cooled air and the ambient air in your home. Moisture only increases condensation.

In most cases, high humidity is the number one reason for condensation forming on your vents, as it means there is something wrong with your plumbing or air conditioning.

2. Low Refrigerant

What causes condensation on air vents? One of the most common culprits, especially in aging air conditioning systems, is insufficient refrigerant.

The air conditioner’s refrigerant system is self-contained and as such you shouldn’t be concerned about low levels on most air conditioners. However, as an air conditioner ages, the likelihood of leaks from wear and tear, which can occur anywhere, increases. Without the right levels, your air conditioner cannot maintain cool, dry air, which can lead to condensation.

If your problem is a lack of refrigerant, only a certified technician can find the leak, repair it and bring your level back to normal. Refrigerant components are delicate and leaks are often the size of a pin or less.

Freon, the element used in the refrigerant, is also toxic to the environment and harmful to anyone who breathes it. Only an HVAC specialist can safely repair refrigerant leaks and properly obtain and dispose of Freon.

3. Blocked Ducts

Your air ducts are responsible for moving fresh air around your home. Without regular cleaning every three to five years, dust and dirt can build up in your home and cause clogs. This forces the air back into the channels. Metal ducts are particularly susceptible to these problems.

Over time, blockages can cause ducts to leak. Leaking ducts not only deprive you of the fresh air in your home, but your air conditioner works harder, ages faster and needs repairs more often.

4. Dirt Buildup

The two main places in your air conditioner where dirt collects are the air filter and the evaporator coils:

  • Air Filters: Air filters keep your air clean and pure, but are prone to dirt build-up if you don’t change them every 30 to 90 days. Dirty filters block cold air, causing condensation to form on the air conditioner itself. They can also cause major damage to air conditioning systems.
  • Evaporator Coils: A dirty evaporator coil prevents your air conditioner from expelling hot air, trapping it inside and possibly freezing the air conditioner. As the accumulated ice warms, condensation drains from the air conditioner.

If you notice condensation on your air conditioner, call an HVAC specialist immediately to diagnose and fix the problem.

5. Clogged Drain Line

A clogged exhaust duct is not a direct cause of condensation in your vents. However, this increases the humidity.

The drain line runs through your air conditioner and drains condensation outside. If there is a blockage, the condensation rises and leads to increased humidity in your home. You may not see the condensation itself, but you will feel its effects.

If your problem is a clogged drain line, you need professional HVAC services to fix the problem.

Preventing Condensation on Your Vents

It’s not enough to know what causes condensation on vents. If you want to avoid the problem, practice these four habits regularly.

1. Reduce Moisture

Reducing the humidity in your home can prevent condensation from forming and prevent various problems not only with your HVAC system, but also with your walls, floors, and objects.

Even if you can’t control the weather, you can follow these tips to lower the humidity in your home:

  • Use a dehumidifier: A dehumidifier is the easiest and most direct way to reduce humidity in your home, regardless of its source. You can purchase individual humidifiers for each room or integrate a whole-house dehumidifier into your HVAC system. If you’re concerned about the cost, think about how much money you can save in the long run by preventing moisture damage around your home.
  • Improve Insulation: Poor insulation allows outside air to enter the interior and makes it difficult to maintain your HVAC system. If you find that indoor humidity levels strongly reflect changes in outdoor humidity, you need better insulation throughout the home.
  • Use Less Water: While it may seem insignificant, using water throughout the home increases overall indoor humidity. If you notice high humidity in your home, reduce the amount of water you use in cooking (e.g. boiling water), bathing or for decorations such as fish tanks. When using water, avoid items that produce steam, such as  saunas or whirlpools.
  • Partition your home: By separating your home from the outside world and your rooms from each other, you can better control the flow of moisture throughout the home. On humid days, opening doors and windows outward will destroy insulation and allow moisture into your home. You can also keep the doors to each room closed and let your plumbing do its job.
  • Reduce ventilation: It’s counterintuitive to think that venting too much air outside would increase humidity, but expelling the air creates a negative pressure that allows outside air to enter. Your house fills up. Only run fans in your bathroom and kitchen when large amounts of condensation form. Running them when you don’t need them will make the problem worse.

2. Keep Vents Clear

Check your home regularly for clogged vents to prevent condensation from forming in your ducts. Make sure there is no furniture blocking ventilation or toys stacked in front of children. Even a curtain can create enough of a blockage to cause a problem.

Ideally, you should check your home’s vents for blockages before operating the air conditioner. However, if this seems unbearable, walk around the house several times a week to clear any blockages.

3. Clean Your Air Conditioner

Since the air filter and evaporator coils are the two main places dirt collects, clean both components on a regular basis. Depending on the type of filter you have, it may need to be cleaned or replaced every 30 to 90 days. If you have pets, smoke, or live in a polluted area, you may want to change it more often.

You can clean the evaporator coil using a vacuum cleaner and a can of compressed air. However, the component is fragile. So be careful or hire an HVAC technician to avoid major damage.

 4. Regular Maintenance

To keep your air conditioner running smoothly and avoid more costly repairs, schedule maintenance at least once a year. The best time is spring before the cold sets in. Some people also schedule a second service in the fall to ensure the air conditioner hasn’t been damaged by the heavy summer use.

What does the interview involve? Our plan includes a 21-point inspection that includes:

  • Checking the evaporator coils
  • Check your refrigerant level and top up if necessary
  • Check your air filter and replace or clean if necessary
  • Make sure the thermostat is working properly
  • Check all electrical components for loose or faulty connections
  • Test the airflow of the air conditioner and ducts

Call Carrano Air HVAC Contractors Inc. for Air Conditioner Services

Now you know the answer to the question “What causes condensation on air vents?” 

You know when to call Carrano Air HVAC Contractors Inc. specialists. With fast, professional service and unparalleled expertise, they diagnose and fix the problem so you can feel good again.

Carrano Air HVAC Contractors Inc. can answer common air conditioning questions. Call 732 329-3784 to schedule an appointment.

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