In the middle of a heat wave or at the start of the summer peak AC season, many Floridians often wonder, “How much condensation from AC is normal?” Lion Air Conditioning Cooling and Heating, LLC, your reliable AC repair in Lauderhill, FL, has advice for telling the difference between harmless moisture and a dangerous buildup of water or ice that could be a sign of AC damage.
Why Does Condensation Form on AC Units?
The air conditioning system works by circulating refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor units of the air conditioning system. The outdoor unit compresses the refrigerant, causing it to release heat, while the indoor unit allows the refrigerant to expand.
As the refrigerant expands, it cools. When moist, warm air in the building’s interior contacts the surface of the coils, condensation results.
Why Is Too Much Condensation a Problem for Air Conditioners?
If condensation is forming on the cabinet that surrounds the AC unit or excessive condensation is dripping from ductwork, this could be a concern for several reasons.
If condensate does not drain properly, it could cause substantial damage to the floor, walls, and other porous materials in or near the room that houses the indoor AC unit. Moisture in areas that sustain water damage from the condensate could breed mold and bacteria growth, which could become airborne and spread to the rest of your house.
Instead of asking how much condensation from AC is normal, ask whether the condensation from your evaporator or condenser coils is draining properly.
Condensation normally forms on your evaporator coils in your home, but your AC drainage system should handle it by allowing the condensate to drain harmlessly away from the house. If the indoor unit of your air conditioner is below ground level, you might need a condensate pump to push the water out of the house.
Signs of AC Maintenance Problems
Excessive condensation around the coils could also be a symptom of a malfunctioning air conditioning system. Even if the condensation is not currently interfering with the operation of the air conditioner or causing water damage to your home, neglecting it could lead to AC damage and future repair bills.
A Faulty Defrost Cycle
The evaporator coils should develop some condensation. It is their job to cool the air, and cooler temperatures cause water vapor to condense from the air.
Modern air conditioners have a defrost cycle that gives coils a chance to warm up. Frozen condensation on the coils could indicate that the defrost cycle is ineffective or never started.
Dirty air filters, damaged fans, and other AC problems can prevent air from circulating around the coils.
If the coils are dirty or the refrigerant level drops too low, the refrigerant inside the evaporator coils can cool more quickly than the air around them can provide heat. This excessive cold can cause ice to build up on the coils.
The condenser coils are usually warm because they radiate heat. However, if the condenser is not operating normally or if your system is a heat pump operating in heat mode, the outdoor condenser coils can develop condensation or leak. In cold weather, they can freeze.
Are Frozen AC Coils Dangerous?
The ice around the coils can prevent them from exchanging heat with the air around them, forcing the air conditioner to work harder. As ice builds up on the coils, it weighs them down and can damage them. Damaged AC coils can lead to refrigerant leaks and inefficient cooling.
How Much Condensation Is Too Much?
So, how much condensation from your AC is normal? You might notice condensation on the coils themselves, but there should not be a substantial pool of water under or around the indoor or outdoor AC cabinets. The amount of condensate you should expect depends on the humidity level and other factors.
Ice crystals should not build up on your indoor or outdoor AC coils. Call a professional AC service company if you notice excessive condensation on any part of your AC unit.
Learn More About the Condition of Your AC System
We hope you have a clearer sense of how much condensation from AC is normal. If you worry that condensation or frost on your air conditioner will damage your air conditioner or reduce its efficiency, don’t wait for problems to emerge. Call Lion Air Conditioning Cooling and Heating, LLC at 754-704-6459 for professional AC maintenance and repair services by a fully licensed and insured team.