What Causes Condensation on Air Conditioners?



  • An air conditioner accomplishes several different tasks at the same time, drawing hot air from a house, running it through cooling coils, expelling the heat outdoors and returning freshened air into the house.
    This requires several different appliances working together in one system: Fans are needed to take air in and push air back out once it is purified, systems are needed to draw moisture from the air so it doesn't harm the internal cooling mechanism, delicate coils are needed to draw heat away from the air and release it outdoors, and pipes and drainage systems must be in place to properly siphon away extra materials. Over time, air conditioners have become largely self-operating and efficient, but problems can still occur.

Leaks and Condensation

  • One of the first things air conditioners do to the air is draw moisture from it through evaporator coils that attract water vapor so it condenses inside the conditioner and is drained away. If condensation forms on the outside of the air conditioner it is probably a result of the great temperature difference between some of its parts---the cool air can also condense air outside the air conditioner, resulting in this moisture. Inside the air conditioner, once the air has been dried there should be no condensation.
    Moisture inside the air conditioner could be evidence of an improperly functioning drainage system, which is a common problem. The evaporator coils often drawn out contaminants along with the moisture, or dust can gather on or near the drain and create clogs. These clogs can lead to air conditioner leaks, which are a serious problem and should be remedied quickly.


  • Regular air conditioner maintenance should prevent most leaks, and well-functioning air conditioners should move air quickly and leave little condensation either inside or outside of the system. If there are leaks, then the inside part of the air conditioner should be opened and carefully cleaned, especially the drain area.
    If there are no leaks to be found or there is excessive condensation on the outside of the system then the problem might be with the evaporator or cooling coils, and a professional should be contacted. Plants, dirt and draperies should be kept away from air conditioning vents to prevent clogs from forming.

Using the Reconstituted Water

  • Because air conditioners produce a continuous supply of water when they are functioning, some systems are made to use this water by siphoning off the excess liquid and draining it in a particular spot.

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