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Understanding a Condensate Drain Pan
The condensate drain pan in your heating and cooling system permits dampness to exit the apparatus and your home. A correctly functioning condensate drain pan protects your HVAC gear and your home from water damage. Know how your condensate works and when to call for help from an HVAC specialist.
During operation, heating and cooling equipment produce a reduction. When the cooling procedure begins, the evaporator coils within your inner HVAC tackle fall to low temperatures and become cold. This allows the coils to engross heat from the incoming air to cool it.
The warm air that enters your system from the home is humid, but that moisture is detached as heat transfer is shown by the evaporator coils. As your AC extracts moisture from the indoor air during the heat transfer process, condensation forms along with the evaporator coils. How a condensate drain pan works are by collecting this water as it trickles from your air conditioner’s evaporator coils. 
This is attached below the evaporator coils. It must be properly fitted to catch moisture without leaks. Moisture flows to the condensate drain line and out of your home. Starting at the condensate pan, excess moisture from your home’s air can exit your home and the cooling process leaves you with the added addition of dehumidification indoors.
Where Is My Condensate Drain Pan?
Due to the nature of how a condensate drain pan works? It is always located with your system’s evaporator coils. Where these mechanisms are located depends on the heater or air trainer type you have installed at home.
  • In a vertical application, the heater or air manager is in an upright position. Usually, they are installed in a home’s garage or a devoted utility closet. In a vertical application, the evaporator coils are located at the top of the unit, so you can find the condensate pan just below.
  • In a horizontal application, the heater or air handler is installed on its side. This installation application is characteristically seen when the unit needs to be placed in a loft, due to the limited space obtainable in this area depending on roof pitch. Airflow moves from side to side instead of up and down when the unit is installed this way. Find the evaporator coils situated beside the heater or air handler near the return air ducts, and below it, you see the drain pan.
What damages the condensate drain pan?
The condensate drain pan is destined to collect water that results from the air conditioning process. When homeowners do not use air conditioning, they opt for heating in the colder months. Because the condensate drain pan is located right by the boiler, either on top or below, it is in the path of hot air with each heating cycle. The continuous hitter of heat sucks out the moisture of these plastic pans. Ultimately, it leads to cracks.
A cracked pan is unable to hold water. When homeowners return to air training, water slips through the cracks of the pan, either pooling at the bottom or dripping throughout the furnace central.
Besides, the drain itself can choke. This can result from a muddy air filter, foreign obstacle, or simply old age. In this occurrence, water never makes it through the condensate drain line. Instead, water backups and fills the condensate drain pan. Inappropriately, these pans are not designed to carry large amounts of water. They’re fairly narrow and built to hold water for a short amount of time as water should empty through the condensate line. In the event of an overflow from a clog, water drips backward toward the furnace.
How Do I Tell the Difference Between the Two Condensate Pans?
The secondary condensate pan on a horizontal HVAC unit is much more noticeable than the primary one located under your evaporator coils because you can see it as it is not covered in the gear cabinet. It sits below the system and spans the width and depth of the unit with a little extra area just in case.
Condensate Drain Pan Problems
Glitches with how a condensate drain pan works often cause a water leak within the HVAC apparatus and water damage in the home. If you have regular AC tune-ups with KS Services, our technicians inspect your system’s condensate pan. They look for issues such as:
If not appropriately fitted within the system, water leaks outside the air conditioner. This leads to water damage to the surrounding area if the issue is ignored.
Due to the moist environment, fungus and mildew may grow. These pollutants, as well as particles in the air, clog the drain pan. This stops the flow of moisture to the drain line and out of the home which obstructs how a condensate drain pan works.
Moisture backup results. Depending on the alignment of your HVAC tackle, water backs up into the system. This leads to constituent damage. In this case, water also spills over the edges of the condensate drain pan and damages the area around your HVAC system.
Don’t risk water damage and mold. These are often luxurious restoration projects.
Due to how a condensate drain pan works, it knowledge wears and tears just like other HVAC types of machinery. Damage allows water to leak. An understandable sign of a damaged drain pan is water or water damage around your HVAC unit.
Additional Signs of Condensate Pan Problems
These symptoms also alert homeowners to the presence of a problem:
  • Higher humidity in the home
  • Odors from the HVAC system
  • Mold growth
  • Higher energy bills
  • No water coming from the condensate drain line
Protect Your Condensate Drain Pan
Prevent water damage to your home and HVAC tackle and ensure your air conditioner runs properly this summer with these tips to protect how a condensate drain pan works. To provide the best care for your condensate pan, take the following steps:
Schedule a defensive maintenance tune-up so our NATE-certified technicians inspect your drain pan and correct any issues noticed.
Change your air filter regularly. This keeps pollutants out of the system and prevents clogs. A dirty air filter allows more contaminants to form clogs.

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