How Your Air Conditioner Works - Part 8

It’s time for class to begin. “AC 101 Part 8”. We were last talking about the drain of your central cooling system. First, here is a reminder about a key point from Part 1 of How Your Air Conditioner Works: An AC can’t make cold air, it can only move the heat out of your house. What’s the connection to the topic of the drain? Humidity.

Just as an air conditioner doesn’t make cold air, it doesn’t make dry air either. Your AC works by moving heat and moisture out of your house. So, if your drain is clogged or otherwise not draining properly, then you will have two problems. First, you might notice that even though the temperature is cooling down, it is feeling muggy inside your house. This is because the moisture is being pulled out of the air, like we talked about in Part 7. But then because it is not draining out it can evaporate again into the airstream and re-enter your home.

However, the second problem is much worse, although less common: you might have water draining into your house and causing water damage. If your indoor unit is in the attic, in a closet, or even in the garage, the water that isn’t making it out of the house will start to build up and could start draining into your house. Like we said, a much worse problem. The good news what we will now explain in this last lesson of AC 101: How Your Air Conditioner Works.

Every machine with a risk for causing damage should have a safety mechanism of some sort. And the central cooling system in your home is no exception. One of the several built-in protections is a safety switch that monitors the water level that is coming off of the indoor coil. If everything is working properly, there will never be any water that accumulates. If, on the other hand, the drain gets clogged then the water level will start to rise and a float switch will activate to shut the system down. One of the most common methods for shutting the system down is to disconnect power to the thermostat. Do you remember the role of the thermostat in your air conditioning system? That’s what tells the system how much heat to remove from your house. If the thermostat loses power, all the AC units stop running. So, if your thermostat is suddenly shutting completely off like its dead, and a few hours later it comes back on, then you may be seeing the safety switch in action protecting your home from water damage. Obviously, you are going to be calling your favorite heating and air service company to get the problem fixed. Is there something you can do to prevent this from happening? Yes.

A regular program of maintenance is your best defense from a clogged condensate drain and the potential water damage that could cause, or the disruption to the operation of your cooling system. The helpful people here at GAMA Air have helped many folks living in and around Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino to keep their ACs well maintained. Call us now at (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to schedule a tune-up. On the other hand, maybe you could fix this yourself. Come back for more as we explain the steps to take to clear your air conditioning condensate drain from any clog it may have.

Would you like to ask a question about heating or air conditioning but don’t know who to ask? Visit our Ask an Expert page, fill out the form, and the resident expert here at GAMA Air will get back to you quickly with the answer.

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