How Air Conditioning Systems Work
Do it yourself A/C Repair tip #1 – To better understand your air conditioning system and how to do some easy at home a/c repairs you need to understand the basics of how an air conditioning system works. Because we live in Texas and more often than not we need cooling, we will discuss how the cooling operation works. It all begins at your thermostat. Once the thermostat reads that the temperature that you requested is not the actual temperature of the room, it will complete a circuit that sends information to a circuit board in your furnace that calls for cooling. At this point, the circuit board completes electrical pathways to both the outside condensing unit and the blower motor inside the furnace housing. Air begins to circulate throughout your home using the ductwork to travel and move. Refrigerant also begins pumping from your outside condensing unit through copper lines into your evaporator coil. The warm air that passes across the evaporator coil gives up the heat and moisture it contains and becomes cold. The refrigerant is then pumped back to the Condensing unit and is “condensed” and the cycle continues in this fashion until the thermostat reaches the set temperature. With this many moving parts it is a wonder that air conditioning systems don’t break down more often!
Air Conditioning Drain Lines In The Attic
Do it yourself A/C Repair tip #2 – Your air conditioning system produces water when cooling your home. This happens when the warm air passes across the cold evaporator coil. As the warm air moves across the coil, condensation occurs and water begins to form which collects in the drain pan. A drain line then drains the water out of your house. Over time this drain line can become clogged with things like algae, dirt, and rust. If this occurs there is a second drain line called the “emergency drain line”. This drain line is meant to give you enough time to contact an HVAC professional to clear it of the debris. If the clog is not cleared, you may have an overflow of water occur. The water will then begin to pour out into your attic and eventually find sheet rock. Sheetrock repairs can cost hundreds of dollars or more depending on how extensive the damage. There are some things you can do to avoid those costly repairs by doing the following:
- Find where your emergency drain line terminates. You can usually find the drain line somewhere above a window outside under the roof. It is important to check it on occasion for water dripping. If you have trouble finding it contact Ken’s Heating And Air for assistance.
- Ask your contractor if there is a place for you to treat your drain line with bleach that will help clear the algae build up.
- Don’t Wait! If you find dripping or excessive water you may have a drain problem and should contact your local air conditioning company quickly to resolve the issue.
Light Switches In The Attic
Do it yourself A/C Repair tip #3 – If your air conditioning system is located in your attic and if you have been in your attic recently you may have noticed that there are two light switches. One of these light switches controls the lights in your attic (sometimes this light switch may be located in the hallway near your attic access door) and the other light switch controls power to your furnace. It is very common for homeowners, electricians, and cable repair companies to accidentally flick this power switch on and off thinking that it is the light for the attic. Often this will cause no damage to your system, or it may reset your thermostat. However there are times that the switch will be left off accidentally effectively turning the system off. Save yourself a service call by doing the following:
- Ask your contractor on their next maintenance visit to label the light switches in the attic that clearly indicate which switch controls the lights and which controls the power to the furnace.
- If your air conditioning system is not operating check the switch in the attic.