Fixing Air Conditioner/Heater Dripping Sound

An HVAC system appliance outside a brick building and next to a white door and pink rose
What You'll Need
Wet vac
Paper towels
A screw driver
Small cleaning brush that can fit in a tight spot
Leaf blower
House hold oil
Adjustable wrench
Garden hose and spray gun
Container for screws or small odds and ends

Often the cause of a dripping sound coming from the air conditioner heater unit is due to a lack of maintenance. A DIY job can save some money if the situation is addressed soon enough. The central air conditioner has a heating unit. The heating pump is a part of the air conditioners condensing unit and part of the larger mechanism that sits outside all year long in all kinds of weather. It isn’t really a surprise that this unit will eventually need a little care and attention to keep it running as it should. It is not a bad idea to perform annual maintenance even before such signs of trouble like dripping can start.

Reading the Manual

If you have not worked on this air conditioner before, it is a very good idea to take a look at the manual before starting. Often there are tips and tricks for your make and model listed that will make working on it easier.

Step 1 - Shut off power

Blow leaves or debris away from the area. Shut off the power to the unit. This means you will need to find the electrical disconnect switch and turn off the 240 volts of power coming into the unit. The disconnect switch is usually in a weatherproofed metal box located outside somewhere in the area of the condensing unit.

You will also need to turn off the power at the main electrical service panel. Wait a few minutes before you start to allow any stored charge to dissipate.

Step 2 - Check for All Issues

As long as you are performing maintenance of the air conditioner, you should go ahead and check for all possible issues. Remove the grill so that you can assess the inside of the air conditioner and clean the fan, motor, and interior of the unit.

You will need to remove the screws holding the side and top panels in place using a flat blade or screwdriver or socket driver. Remove the side grill away from the unit and place the screws in a container of some sort. They might get lost if simply pocketed so put them someplace safe for the time being. When you can locate the fan motor go ahead and give it a few drops of lightweight household oil into each port.

Step 3 - Vacuum

Vacuum the outside of the coil fins and the condensing unit. Use the small brush to get at any debris that might be clogging the heating unit.

Step 4 - Check for Bends

Look for any coils that seem bent or for anything that seems out of place. Straighten out any bent fins if possible and then replace the grill cover.

Step 5 - Restore Power

Switch your thermostat off and restore the power. Wait a few minutes then switch the thermostat back on.