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Why the Air Conditioner is Leaking Into Ceiling Vents

Air conditioner evaporator coils are sometimes located in attics and can sweat moisture into ceiling vents, like a glass of ice water in the summer. Extensive ceiling damage can occur if the drain line is clogged. Costs vary, but for a 10 foot by 12 foot room, a new ceiling costs $50 to $200, not including installation costs.

Symptoms

Air conditioning condensation leaks are a common problem.

On hot and humid days, water is often found in and around air conditioner duct and vent systems, especially if a home is kept very cold. Ducts sweat because the outside metal surfaces are below the dew point of the air in their immediate surroundings. Ducts may leak from poor seals, or because algae has built up and clogged the drain line.

Solution

The primary methods to stop duct systems from sweating include raising the outside surface temperature of the duct, lowering the dew point of the air surrounding the duct with a dehumidifier, and clearing any algae from drain lines with bleach or by using a CO2 gun to blow the line. If the supply duct is sweating, increased air flow will moderate the cooling coil's temperature and raise the duct surface temperature.

Warning

To avoid serious injury or death, disconnect the unit from its power source before beginning repair work.

About the Author

Cole Alpaugh began his newspaper career in 1983 at "The Salisbury Daily Times." He moved to the "Holyoke Transcript-Telegram" from 1984 to 1989, where his stories won national awards. His most recent newspaper job was reporting for the "The Bridgewater Courier-News." Alpaugh earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from George Mason University.

Photo Credits

  • air conditioner vent image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com