A float switch installed in your HVAC system is a simple device that may prevent expensive water damage to your house. Many people simply aren’t aware of how much water a residential central air conditioner collects during hot, humid summer days common here in eastern North Carolina.

Extraction of water vapor from indoor air is a critical part of the air conditioning process. The evaporator coil installed in the indoor air handler produces many gallons of condensation every day. If all goes according to plan, the water is collected in the condensate drip pan underneath the air handler, then diverted into a drain line connected to the household drain system.

Overflows Happen

But what if everything doesn’t go according to plan? Condensate drain pans provide a perfect environment for algae and mold growth which may slowly clog the drain line. The drip pan then rapidly overflows, with the potential of spilling gallons and gallons of water. Each time the air conditioner cycles on, overflow continues. Because the HVAC air handler is often situated in an enclosed space like a closet, severe water damage to the home’s structure may occur before the spillage is even noticed.

The Switch Saves The Day

A vital safety component—which may not be included as standard equipment on many A/C installations—is a drip pan float switch. Easily installed by a qualified HVAC technician, the process is simple:

  • Mounted inside the condensate drip pan, the float switch continuously senses the pan water level.
  • If the drain line clogs and the drip pan fills, the switch automatically shuts off power to the air conditioner to prevent overflow and water damage.
  • Occupants inside the home quickly notice that the air conditioner’s not functioning (especially on a hot summer day) and call for professional HVAC service.
  • A service technician will blow out the drain line clog to restore proper drain function as well as clean the drip pan and add time-release biocide tablets to kill algae or mold growth and prevent future clogs.

Ask the professionals at Jackson & Sons about adding the protection of a float switch to your central air conditioner.