One usually thinks of air conditioning as a luxury. However, that’s in large part because people almost always have it available when needed. There are quite a few points during the year when air conditioning is helpful rather than vitally important. However, most areas will also have more than a few days when temperatures are so high that they become a risk for the health of a household.
This is part of the reason why it’s so important to understand the various components of an AC system. However, there’s a secondary reason why people should know a little more about their AC units. Some AC problems don’t directly render the unit non-functional. The issues can create other, often severe, issues within a building. This is quite apparent when one looks at AC float switches.
What would the average person think if he came home and found water covering his floor? Or if while relaxing at night, he suddenly felt water dripping onto his face? Most people would assume a natural source for the water. It might be rain or flooding, for example. Others might consider a burst pipe in his or her home. However, it might be due to the AC unit. Or, more precisely, the AC unit’s drain line.
Air conditioners don’t just cool an area. The units also help dehumidify the building they’re running within. An air conditioner will cool air while removing moisture from it. The results of this dehumidification are then stored in the AC units drain pan. This is usually located directly underneath the system’s evaporator coil. This can result in up to 30 gallons of water per day. This water should simply drain out into an outdoor location or the home plumbing system. However, if there’s any blockage, the water can instead simply leak out of the AC unit. That is unless AC float switches are installed and functioning correctly. But what are AC float switches?
An AC float switch can be one of any number of different devices. Some of these are quite simple. Other types of float switches use fairly complex electronic components. The switches are defined more by function than anything else. And the function is itself reasonably simple. An AC float switch stops the air conditioner from producing water if the unit’s drain has become clogged.
One critical point about a float switch is that when working properly, people often assume that the AC unit itself is broken. This is usually due to how a float switch operates. A basic float switch will fully disable the AC unit if it detects signs of a blocked drain. People then try to turn the AC on and find that it isn’t working. Depending on the nature of the switch, a unit might only operate on fan mode, or it might not even turn on. Whichever the case may be, people usually assume that there’s some significant damage within the unit.
People who know about float switches will understand that the next step is checking drains. Sometimes one can take care of this on his own by just looking for and clearing out obstructions within the clogged drain pipes. It’s especially feasible when a solid item has made its way into the system. In those cases, one simply needs to remove the impediment and close the drain off again. However, it’s also quite common for one to need professional help with the drain. This is usually the case when the damage has built up over a considerable amount of time.
It’s also worth noting that some float switches provide more detailed feedback than others. For example, some float switches will signal the user that it’s been triggered. This makes diagnosing the underlying issue with an AC unit much easier.