What To Check On Your Air Conditioning System

Homeowners are sometimes surprised to discover that water is pouring out of the air conditioner unit in their home. It is not something they ever expected to encounter. Where did the water come from, and what can be done to prevent it? These are essential questions to answer.

How Air Conditioners Work

Air conditioning units work by pulling in warm, moist air over a coil of cold tubes. This coil is very cold because it contains a special refrigerant chemical. The moisture contained in the air then forms condensation on the coil. This water that condenses on the coil is called condensate, and it drips into a pan below the coil.

Every air conditioner works similarly, whether it is a central air conditioner or a unit that fits in a window – even your freezer, dehumidifier, or refrigerator will work in the same way.

So much moisture collects as condensate in central air conditioning systems that there is a large pan below the evaporator coil (also known as the A-coil because of its shape, or the indoor coil). Water constantly drips from the coil into the pan, and then it drains through a pipe and goes out of the house. Sometimes the water is pushed by a condensate pump which removes the water from the house through a tube

Fixing The Problem

When the air conditioner causes moisture to leak into your home, you will need to do these three things:

If a system is drained by gravity, make certain that the condensate flows out freely, since the drain line may be clogged with mold and slime, especially at the elbow bend.

If a system uses a condensate pump, the water can back up and overflow the pan if the pump has stopped working.

Check whether the condensate pan that is underneath the coil is rotting and filled with holes, creating a leakage of water into the home. In many cases, it is tricky to replace the pan, and it is not something the homeowner should attempt. It is always better to have an authorized HVAC Houston contractor to do the repair.

The condensate drain and also the pan can often grow mold and slime inside. This is especially true if the moisture includes a lot of pollen, dust, warm temperature, and an absence of light. The moisture in the pan drips constantly and slowly without creating enough pressure to flush the slime and dirt out of the pan.

The first step to take is to clean the plastic elbow near the condensate pan. This can be so clogged with slime and dirt that it may be necessary to cut it out and put in another one.

Installing A Window Air Conditioner

You should then clean out the condensate drain. To do this, get a shop vacuum and attach it to the condensate drain outside the home, place a cover on the vent of the drain, and then turn on the vacuum briefly for three or four seconds to remove wet or dry slime from the line. This is an important point. Remove the paper air filter from the shop vacuum when you do this.

It is fairly easy to keep the drain line open in most circumstances. You can kill the mildew that may be growing inside the drain by pouring in a solution of bleach and water into it. A home with a long condensate drain that is situated in a humid environment such as in the deep south, or near a lake or ocean, should have the condensate line flushed out every sixty to ninety days to keep it clear.

Bleach solutions are not likely to damage plastic drain lines, but the condensate pans may be made of metal, and can, therefore, be damaged by bleach solutions or chlorine tablets that are placed in the pan, leading to corrosion, leakage, and pitting of the metal. A copper drain line may also be adversely affected by using a bleach solution.

How To Check And Replace The Air Filter Of Your Air Conditioner System?

The air filter of an air conditioner is designed to block the entry of dust and debris, and allow the entry of only clean air. The AC filter must be replaced once it becomes clogged with dust and other pollutants. You should check the air filter more often during the summer months when the AC runs around the clock. Failing to change this filter on time can mean high energy bills, repair works, and decreased the lifespan of the air conditioner. Keeping the air filter clean is the easiest and cheapest way to ensure optimum performance of your AC.

Changing the AC filter is quite easy if you know how to do it properly.

The Guide to Replacing the AC Air Filter

First, find the filter. It is usually located near the thermostat. You will find an air vent near the thermostat. The vent will be covered with a grille. The filter is placed behind this grille. Usually, this is where the filter is located in most ductwork type air conditioning systems but if you do not find it here, then your air conditioner model may have the air filter closer to the cooling system and not at the air vent opening.

The Next Step after Finding the Air Vent

The AC filter is generally located behind the cover that covers the air vent. Take out this cover grille after loosening its fasteners, and you will see the filter. Pull the filter out and check its condition. If the filter is full of dust and debris, it is time to replace it. If it still looks whitish, then it is not in immediate need of replacement, and you can leave it for some more time.

To replace the old air filter with a new one, first, remove the old filter from its place. Now take hold of the new air filter. You will see arrow images on its sides. The arrows indicate how to place it correctly at the air vent opening. The arrows should be pointing toward the duct and not toward you. To place this filter at the duct opening, first settle its lower part in the opening and then push its topside to fit the whole filter in its slot. Now place the cover back and tighten the fasteners.

The AC air filter replacement job is complete. Removing the dirty, clogged air filter is necessary if you want to ensure entry of only clean air inside the air conditioning system. If you face humidity issues inside your home even after installing a new AC air filter, you may have to install a whole-house humidifier.

What Type of Filter Is Best for Your Air Conditioning System?

There are different types of filters for the same air conditioner system. The efficiency varies depending on the quality of the filters and the materials used to make them. The MERV or minimum efficiency report value is the industry standard to define the efficiency of air conditioner air filters. Residential air conditioner filters generally have 1-12 rating. A higher rating indicates higher efficiency in removing the dust, particles, debris, and bacteria from the incoming air.

MERV Ratings

  • A rating of 1-4 indicates the AC filter will remove only 20 percent of the air pollutants.
  • A rating of 5-8 means the filter can remove 20-35 percent of the air pollutants.
  • A rating of 9-12 indicates the filter can remove 50-90 percent of the air pollutants.

The MERV rating best for your air conditioning system depends on what type of HVAC you have and your specific indoor air quality requirements. You should choose a higher efficiency rated filter if anyone at your home has a health issue that gets aggravated if the dust level is high in the indoor air.

Contact a professional HVAC expert if you are unable to determine the right air filter rating for your AC system. Never install a filter that is not designed for your type of AC. Read your HVAC’s owner manual to learn what type of filter you have to use for it.

When Should You Replace Your AC Air Filter?

Most AC experts advise replacing it every three months. However, it depends on the air quality of the area where your home is located and how much the AC is used. You have to replace the air filter of your AC more frequently if your house is located in an area where the air is quite dusty. Install a higher efficiency filter if anyone at your home suffers from a respiratory health problem. It is a good idea to check your AC’s air filter once every month and replace it when required.

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