Air Conditioning Tip: AC Condensate Problems

The beauty of air conditioning in Tacoma is that we don’t have to do anything to live in a cool climate even when it’s boiling outside.  Programmed to adjust automatically, modern thermostats make it even easier.

It is very inconvenient therefore (not to mention uncomfortable) when our unit is not functioning properly forcing us to pay attention.  Suddenly over-heated, our first inclination may be to call for help, but often the expensive repair can be accomplished easily or avoided completely.

Air Conditioning 101

The process of conditioning air to a cooler temperature involves rapid evaporation and condensation of chemicals called refrigerants.  These are compounds having properties that allow them to change from liquid to gas and back at low temperatures.

When the liquid evaporates and transforms into gas it absorbs heat.  Compressed tightly together again, the matter condenses back into liquid with a residue of unwanted moist heat that must be released to the outdoors.

Over the course of handling the air to cool it, air conditioners are able to filter dust and dehumidify the air as well.  This release of moisture is why air conditioners have drains.

Condenser Coils

As the heat is removed from the gas, it forms condensation that must be drained from the system.  Tiny particles accumulate along the path, prone to shifting and resettling until they become lodged and can form a significant enough blockage to hamper the efficiency of the unit.  If the drain line becomes blocked, the unit drips or overflows the pan and works its way back into the house, causing damage and potentially mold.

This is when panic is inclined to call for the cavalry.

Easy Fix

A simple act of maintenance performed twice a year and requiring no tools can eliminate the problem. Your Tacoma air conditioning technician will do the following to check and maintain your condensate drain:

On the interior side, they will remove the panel of the unit and find the drain line, usually a plastic tube.  If the pan is full of water, there is a blockage.  On a whole house system, the tech will find where the plastic tube exits the house, making sure that it is above ground and clear to drain away. Then they will flush the line to ensure a clean and free flowing pipe.

To schedule your annual maintenance visit, give Sound Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. a call!

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