How An AC Unit Pulls Humidity From Your Home And When AC Repairs Are Needed For A Malfunction

Posted on: 10 January 2022

Your air conditioner has the important job of reducing humidity in your house. Your home seems cooler with less humidity, and you feel more comfortable too. Humidity is pulled from your house naturally as the air conditioner runs and humidity forms condensation on the refrigerant coils. Here's a look at how this happens and the AC repairs that could be needed when the condensation doesn't drain properly.

How AC Reduces Home Humidity

Humidity is pulled from your home through the process of condensation. You've probably seen this effect when you see beads of water form and roll down a glass of ice tea on a hot summer day. When warm air meets a cold surface, the humidity forms water or condensation on the cold surface. This happens in all kinds of settings, and it's the principal air conditioners work on.

Warm air from your home is pulled in the air handler and blown across cold copper refrigerant lines. This causes the moisture in the air to form condensation on the coils. When moisture is pulled from the air like this, the air is drier and feels more comfortable. This dry air is what is circulated through your home through the ducts. The process is ongoing all day long every time the AC kicks on.

How The Water From Condensation Drains

When the weather is hot and humid, your AC could pull gallons of water from your home every day. This water has to be drained to a safe place so it doesn't cause water damage. That's where the condensation drain comes in. When condensation forms on the evaporator coil it drips down in a pan. A drain is connected to the pan and water flows through the drain to the outside of your home.

How Problems Arise With Drainage

Because the condensation area of your air handler is wet most of the time, algae sometimes starts growing. When there's a lot of algae growth, the algae gets so thick that it blocks the drain and causes a clog. Other things clog up the drain too, such as insects or tiny mice that get in the pipe from outdoors. When the drain clogs off, a few things can happen.

If you have an old AC unit, there may not be a float switch in the condensation pan. In that case, water that backs up spills on the floor and can cause mold to grow around the air handler. The floor could sustain water damage, and the air handler might get rusty.

If you have a newer AC, it probably has a float switch in it. A float switch is activated when the level of water in the pan gets too high. The switch is connected to the thermostat, so when the switch is flipped, the AC shuts down and the thermostat is blank. A blank thermostat is often a clue there's a problem with the condensation drain.

An AC repair service can fix condensation drainage problems by flushing out the drain and pushing the clog through. If the drain won't flush, a wet vac might work instead by pulling the clog on through. The AC repair technician may also treat the drain to kill algae so it doesn't grow back. The technician might put algaecide in the pan to keep algae growth from getting out of hand again.

Contact an AC repair service for more information.