Air conditioner drainage system: something to check when doing air conditioning service 

It is very rare in the HVAC industry that a very simple part, worth only a few dollars, can avoid so much trouble in a home, save people thousands of dollars and be a valid solution to a health hazard common to all air conditioners during the monsoon season.

What is the cause of this health hazard and the reason for many A/C system failures? The accumulation of rain water in the drain pan of a unit.

Our company, consistently rated one of the very best air conditioning companies in Tucson and Southern Arizona since 1959, has always been on the edge of “clean air indoors” technology. When the monsoon season takes place, between June and September, we have seen many system failures caused by the heat. But we also receive calls from homeowners whose air conditioners fail due to humidity.

Condensation from the evaporative coil accumulates at the bottom of the A/C unit. If there is a blockage in the condensation line (drainage line) of your A/C, the humidity due to the monsoons can result in massive water damage to your home and your air conditioning unit.

When the atmosphere is hot and humid, the amount of water dripping into the condensation pan (also called “drip pan”) increases beyond manufacturer specifications. This water needs to go somewhere because it does not just evaporate: it must be drained out.

A/C systems are either “draw-through” or “blow-through” systems. Air is being pushed (blow-through) or pulled (draw-through) over the coil which cools or heats the house. When the condensate (air becoming water) does not drain out, problems pile up.

The condensation and subsequent humidity stay within the evaporative coil housing. A/C systems are not designed to maintain stagnant water. When the air conditioner drainage line is blocked, your unit can start to incur major damages aggravated by the wide variations in temperature and the resulting corrosive effect on metal.

As the air conditioning unit runs the evaporative coil is also collecting particulates that find their way through the system’s filtration. As condensation builds, it runs off with these particulates. They find their way into the condensation pan. If large enough pieces of debris accumulate, blockages can occur over time. The resulting condensation can overflow the pan causing major damage to your home. 

When day temperatures reach into the 100°F and there is no A/C in a home, the heat quickly becomes intolerable. Senior citizens and patients with critical illnesses such as multiple sclerosis are immediately affected by a temperature increase of just a few degrees. Even when an HVAC technician arrives within the hour of an emergency service call, the time required to fix a complex system failure will be way too long for your comfort and health.

Moreover, the cost of repairing an A/C system crippled by water damage runs into thousands of dollars in parts and labor. This expense is avoidable.

Both issues may be avoided by installing a simple part called EZ Trap at the bottom of the evaporative coil. The EZ Trap and Overflow Sensor is a J-shaped PVC pipe with a clear middle part. Its function is to keep airflow tight and to allow the condensation to flow out effectively from the drain pan into the air conditioner drainage system line. The EZ Trap system uses a float switch which is activated when the pipes are clogged. Water backs up, elevating the switch that turns of the system. This prevents overflow and possible water damage.

EZ Trap for an air conditioner drainage system

Model of EZ Trap – Courtesy of: RectorSeal

Condensation-related problems do not stop here.  When water cannot drain out of the bottom pan, it can become contaminated. Contaminants become airborne when air within this compartment is circulated through the system. What is the contaminant? Mold.

Multiple medical and governmental studies have shown that mold causes respiratory diseases and other health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all mold and moisture problems should be treated with the same care and urgency.

Among the symptoms of “Sick House Syndrome”  (a house with a serious indoor air quality problem): headaches, nausea, watery eyes, skin irritation and fatigue.

According to one the articles mentioned below: “When mold spores get into the air conditioning system they can be a perfect home for mold and bacteria. Alternating high and low humidity conditions can grow, spread, and distribute the spores through the house. Mold contamination in air conditioning ducts poses a serious problem.”

Health hazards, discomfort and repair costs can be avoided by maintaining system integrity with the installation of an EZ Trap and Overflow Sensor on the air conditioner drainage system.

When providing air conditioning service to a home, D&H systematically verifies that your unit is equipped with correct-fit air conditioner drainage system. Our Guardian Plan takes care of this before it becomes an issue. We encourage all homeowners in Tucson to call us for air conditioning service, and request the installation of an EZ Trap.

For the little money this part costs, you can save yourself a heap of trouble and expenses. Don’t wait, call us at (520) 664-3699.

 

 

Useful references:

http://www.mold-advisor.com/ air-conditioner-mold.html
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/articles/PMC145304/
https://air-conditioners-and- heaters.com/mold_black_toxic. html