Air filters protect an air conditioning system from dust and mold particles. However, their ability to protect the system from unwanted particles usually fades away with time. This is a problem since with the filter's protective powers diminished, the system is usually left vulnerable to dust and mold invasion. This usually has the effect of not only reducing the quality of air that the air conditioner dumps into a home, but also affecting the functioning of parts of the air conditioning system.
The condensate drainage system is one of the parts whose efficiency is usually affected by dust and mold particle invasion. Here is what you should know about how the condensate drainage system is affected and why this can sometimes lead to air conditioner shutdowns.
The effect of dust and mold particles on the condensate drainage system
Dust and mold particles that enter the air conditioning system usually end up settling on the evaporator coil. They are then washed off the coils and into the condensate drainage system by the moisture that usually forms in this area. This is a problem since the condensate drainage system isn't designed to handle solids.
As a result, these particles accumulate on the condensate collector tray, something that ends up reducing the tray's water-holding capacity. They also clog up the condensate drain lines, something that then reduces the ability of the drain lines to guide moisture away from the air conditioner.
The combined effect of a condensate collector tray with a reduced moisture-holding capacity and clogged drain lines usually leads to flooding. As a result, the collected condensate flows into the condensate overflow tray. The water level eventually rises up the condensate overflow tray up to a level where it trips the condensate overflow switch, something that then shuts down the air conditioning system.
A temporary solution to the problem
It is possible to get such a system running again by simply emptying the condensate overflow tray. However, this is a temporary solution because for as long as dirt and mold particles cripple the condensate drainage system, there will be water flowing into the condensate overflow tray. This means that it will be just but a matter of time before the air conditioner shuts down again.
A reliable solution to the problem
Cleaning the condensate drainage system will restore the system's ability to effectively get rid of water. Doing this, in addition to replacing the system's filters at least once after every three months, is a more-reliable solution to the air conditioner shutdown problem.