A/C Dripping Water--What to do?

Water appears to be dripping from coil area. Condensation drain is running free and clear, but water is dripping from air handler onto the filter–lots of water, like a gallon a day. Any recommendations before I call the A/C guy (and spend $125 just to get the guy here?)

It sounds like the air inside your house is unusually humid. That’s the only reason I can think of that water would drip from the air handler. Are your windows fogging? A cheap check is to get a thermometer/barometer and hang it on the wall. See what the humidity is.

I’ve had a few clogged condensation drains. That results in water spilling out the AC closet and wetting the carpet. My last rental did that frequently and finally I got to adding a little drain cleaner every other week during the summer to keep the algae killed off.

It sounds to me that the condensation drain isn’t actually running free and clear. Did you try pouring in a bit of bleach, just in case?

Otherwise, is it possible that the angle of the air-handler, or the drain pipe, got shifted somehow? The drain pipe needs to have a slight downward angle throughout it’s length in order to drain effectively.

Assuming no drain lines are plugged with gunk then it sounds as if the condensation pump has failed. It’s an easy enough repair. If you’re absolutely double-dog sure that nothing is clogged then you can probably deal with it yourself.

Not sure what is going onhere. My first thought is the drain is not clear. But you say it is clear.

Check the unit you may have some dirt that is diverting the water reaching the condensate pan.

yes check that the drain is downhill from the water source.

How do you know the drain is clear? Did you pull the tube out and check it? When you pulled the tube out did water come pouring out of the hole? It should’ve.

Go pull the tube out then stick a pencil or something in there (up into the hole that the tube connected to) and see if water comes dumping out. Be ready to stick the tube back on when it happens. If it works, it’s just filled with muck. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get away with doing that a couple of times to clear it out.

Assuming this is a new problem and no recent changes have been made that could suddenly have made the water start flowing to the wrong end, I’m guessing this is the issue.

I heard someone say he unclogged his pipe using a vacuum cleaner (preferably one that can vacuum liquids) and some cloth to catch the clog, if that’s your problem.

I just did that the other day. I used a shop vac and it took out all kinds of gunk including mulch, dead lizards and other flora and fauna. It’s something you have to do yearly in Florida.

It’s my understanding that many people in Florida have their air handlers in the attic and the drain line exiting outside…hence the fauna.

In the rest of the world…or at least houses with basements, the furnace (the the coils for the AC) are almost always in the basement and whenever possible only a few feet away from a floor drain. That’s not to say that they don’t still get filled with gunk from time to time, but lizards are a rare occurrence once you get out of the way down south area.

How you got mulch in there, I’m not sure. Is your drain line big enough for animals to carry it up? I’d be worried about them getting all the way up into the attic.

Dead lizards? How wide is your drain pipe?

My furnace (gas) is in the garage and when the pipe gets clogged I’ll get a runoff in there.

The pipe outside is about 1" and I’ve seen many an anole both green and brown peeking out of there. I also get plagues of frogs and snakes on my lanai all the time so they can get in there too. I’ve learned in 12 years to never underestimate the critter situation especially because I live on a conservation lot (think of my back yard past my property line looking like a forest preserve).

I’m not sure if the lizards are presenting a problem or not, but if they are, you might try rubber banding or zip tying a washing machine lint trap over the end of it.

I was going to suggest a screen of some sort, but I’d rather see something like this so that if any mold/slime/general muck makes it’s way down the line it won’t hit the screen and clog it. But nothing can get back in.

I though about doing that but I’m going to ask the locals why it’s not something that’s recommended.

Survey says: Coil + Box needs to be replaced as it has rusted through (after only 40 years of service–what a POS :D).

Gravity feed, no condensation pump.

No lizards, no clogged line.

P (5 ton coil) & L & R22 (15#) = $1000

I think I will take an online correspondence course ($698) for A/C repair so I can get my EPA cert for the next failure.

Thanks for all of your theories, gang.

It’s not just the cost of the freon and the coils and the class. You’ll also need a set of pressure gauges, a recovery pump, a vacuum pump, somewhere to put the old freon while you’re making the swap etc. They’ll teach you all this in the class I assume. Also, with a job like swapping out the coils, depending on how the old system was physically built, it could involve some light sheet metal work (like if you have to cut the plenum open) that comes with on the job training.

BTW, you shouldn’t have to buy any/much freon. They should be reusing what’s currently in the system. If they’re trying to sell you 15# of freon, get another quote. If you’re system holds 15#, I could see having to buy 1 or 2#. Of course, replacing the coils, isn’t exactly a small job and $1000 doesn’t seem all that out of line to me.

ETA, the new A-Frame coils sit in a plastic pan, so you shouldn’t have this problem again.

Could they be switching the refrigerant from old to new type? Is that possible with older systems?

Is it worth repairing a 40 yo system?

JoeyP: Thanks for the info on the plastic pan.

I called BS on the R22 and asked him to recycle the refrigerant, he said OK.
I agree, though that this is a LOT of work, shoe-horning the new coil into the old space is not going to be easy. At least the poor guy does not have to work in the attic.

Re the Q? AaronX on fixing a 40 year old system…
For the air handler part of the system we are talking about a box with a coil and a fan. The new coil has 20% greater surface area so I hope it is more efficient. The fan, is ummm…just a fan, relatively new.