Why is My Home AC Filter Wet? - A Comprehensive Guide

Possible Causes A damp air filter usually indicates that the condensate tray or condensate drain lines are clogged. Water is a natural by-product of a working air conditioner. As the system draws warm air from your home to cool it, moisture from the air condenses on the evaporator coils and then drips into the drain pan. Possible Causes of Wet Air Filters Air filters could be damp for several reasons.

One of the most common reasons air filters get damp is that the condensate tray or condensate drain line is clogged. Water could also be leaking from evaporator coils. This is less typical, but it happens occasionally. Both air conditioners and high-efficiency gas ovens produce moisture during normal operation. Now, normally, that moisture drains safely to the outside through a white PVC drain, called a “condensate drain line.” Condensate leaks are a common cause of wet air filters.

As the HVAC system cools the air in your home, it also condenses indoor moisture, from water vapor to liquid form. Condensate normally falls into a drip tray, where it is channeled to a drain away from the HVAC system. The air conditioner effectively cools your home by moving humid and warm air through a series of evaporator coils. Due to all the humidity in the air, moisture accumulates in the coils and drips into what is known as a condensation tray. Typically, this tray drains into your home's sewer system, where it is carried.

If the condensate tray drain is clogged, this will allow moisture to build up and be absorbed by the air cleaner. It's not hard to tell if the pan is clogged or not, and if it is, a flush with water and bleach may be all you need to get things moving again. If not, contact your local HVAC contractor to help you unclog your condensate tray. The most common reason an air conditioner leaks water is because a frozen evaporator coil has started to thaw. Clogged air filters are often the main cause of evaporator coil freezing, so it's important to replace the air filter at least once every 90 days. In addition, a damp filter in the heating and air conditioning unit is likely to develop mold, which can cause a variety of health problems, such as nasal congestion, wheezing, and redness and itching of the eyes.

If you already have an air conditioner and replacing it isn't in the plans, then you'll want to make sure you hire a licensed contractor to inspect it regularly. Professional maintenance by a trained and trusted HVAC technician can also help prevent problems with your wet air filter. A condensate leak caused by a clogged drain, a cracked or corroded drip tray, or a poorly installed HVAC system can spill into the air cleaner location and saturate the filter media. If the evaporator coil continues to freeze after replacing the air cleaner, there may be an underlying refrigerant problem at play. A wet filter will struggle to trap these harmful particles and can even hinder proper airflow, causing your unit to work harder and shorten its lifespan.

An air conditioning adjustment helps you avoid blockages, build-ups, and other unnecessary damage that can be caused by a damp air filter. If you notice that the air cleaner is wet, this indicates that there is a problem with your HVAC system that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. And because most air conditioning and oven filters are located right next to the condensate drain lines, any excess water will quickly reach and soak the air filter. George Brazil Air Conditioning and Heating provides the Phoenix area with professional, long-standing, high-quality customer service to create comfortable, healthy, safe and energy-efficient places to live and work. A wet filter is inefficient and distributes moisture throughout the ductwork and home, creating the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Preventing Wet Air Filters

There are several steps you can take to prevent air filters from getting wet.

Before you worry that something is terribly wrong with your air conditioner, you must first make sure that the filter is actually installed correctly. If you find yourself with a damp air filter, the first thing you should do is remove it and dry the surrounding area with a towel or absorbent cloth. With nowhere to go, condensate builds up in the drip tray until it overflows, resulting in a wet floor or, in some cases, a soggy air filter.

Cheri Baldinger
Cheri Baldinger

Subtly charming problem solver. Subtly charming twitter expert. Lifelong travel fanatic. Explorer. Extreme social media specialist. Wannabe internet fan.

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