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Condensate Drain Problems in an AC

water-dropletsThe humid summer weather in North Carolina places extra stress on a home air conditioning system. An AC has to run longer to overcome the additional discomfort that high humidity creates. (An air conditioner isn’t a dehumidifier, however. To deal with serious humidity issues in a home, we recommend you have a dedicated whole-house dehumidifier installed.)

One of the ways that all this extra moisture in the air affects an air conditioner is that it collects along the indoor evaporator coil as the AC is running. This moisture has to go somewhere, so an AC is designed with a condensate pan and drain to catch the dripping moisture and then pump it outside. The occasional sound of water running in the AC cabinet is this condensate system at work.

But like any component in an air conditioner, the condensate drain can run into problems—leading to even bigger problems for a home’s cooling.

Clogged condensate drain

It’s possible for the condensate drain to become blocked. The most common reason for this is algal growth, which is more likely to occur if the drain is already slow. If the drain becomes blocked, the shallow condensate pan (which is only about an inch deep) will rapidly overflow. This will trip a limit switch in the AC and cause it to shut down. If you see a blank thermostat screen, it was probably caused by overflow in the condensate pan. Air conditioning repair professionals can dismantle the drain from the pan and clean out the drain.

Broken condensate pump

A small pump is responsible for pulling water down the drain from the pan. The motor in this pump can burn out, leading to the same problem of a rapidly overflowing condensate pan. The best way to fix this problem is to have professionals replace the pump.

Loose drain

Corrosion can affect the condensate pan, and this often leads to weakening around the connection to the drain and it breaking off. Water will start to drip right through the pan and into your house. To repair this, HVAC professionals will have to remove the condensate pan and find the best way to reattach the pan to the drain.

Leaving any condensate problem without repair can lead to serious AC malfunctions as well as extra humidity in your home and water damage. When excess humidity builds up inside the air conditioner, it creates mold, which both limits the AC’s ability to work and spreads unpleasant odors around your home. It can even spread toxic mold spores.

As soon as you think you have a condensate drain problem, or any problem at all with your cooling system, call our experts for air conditioning repair in Raleigh, NC. We have more than two decades of experience handling the cooling needs of homes in the area, and you can reach us 24 hours a day in case of an air conditioning emergency.

Fix your air conditioner with a call to Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Serving the Triangle Area of North Carolina.

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