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What is a Condensate Safety Float Switch?

What is a Condensate Safety Float Switch?

Has your technician offered you a condensate safety switch for your rooftop AC system but you’re not sure what it is?
Too many times on a service call, have we gone out and found the ceiling is flooding with water.
Sheetrock is bulging from the ceilings, ductwork is saturated, insulation is wet and pressed up against the sheetrock, which if left over time can start to create mold.

Water Damage Abatement teams are brought in to dry up property to keep everyone healthy.

All this can be prevented with the help of our little friend, the condensate safety switch.
Your air conditioner has a hot coil outside and a cold coil inside. The cold coil inside has a fan blowing room temperature air across those cold coils.
Well, that causes condensation, which on normal occasions flows down the main condensate drain with the help of gravity, and out the side of the house where you normally see the pipe dripping with water in the summertime. And that’s’ normal!
If that primary drainpipe were to ever clog, or a family of mud wasps builds a nest in that drain pipe. You know what, nothing even needs to happen for it to clog, the bacteria and gunk that builds up in ¾ inch PVC pipe is so disgusting, it will clog itself.
What you don’t want to see is the secondary or emergency drain dripping with water. Where is that one located? Normally, it’s located above a window around your property.

Check for it around your eaves, you’ll see it. If you see water coming out of that pipe, call your favorite AC company and they’ll likely come out with compressed nitrogen and clean that line out for you.
It takes quite a bit of pressure to clean that thing out, so let’s leave it to the pros. People can hurt themselves trying to mess with compressed gasses.
Back to the drain pan, a condensate safety switch is mounted on the side of your condensate drain pan or directly to your secondary drain port on the evaporator coil. There’s a float inside the switch that will rise if the water level of the pan comes up to a certain level.

So, when that normally-open switch closes, the contacts energize at a low voltage and send a signal to the control board to shut the system down.
Now, we know this turns off your system, but which one would you prefer? Water damage or cool air?
We’re pretty sure at that moment you’ll be glad there are not thousands of dollars in water damage coming down your walls. The reason why you should have one of these for your property is that it will provide a 24-hour watch dog to make sure your overflow or emergency pan doesn’t fill up with water.
We know it’s supposed to be there for overflow, but you don’t want this thing filling up with water. Imagine that coil draining water down; trickle, trickle, trickle.
Do we want that happening outside the property draining to the ground and grass, or do we want that drip, drip, dripping down on our sheetrock on the ceiling above our heads?
This happens way too often. Don’t think your off the hook because your system is in garage.
If those system’s pan fills with water, then it will overflow and come down into the control board area as well as the blower motor assembly. That’s an easy $1000 in repairs; and a furnace that might never quite work the same.
Other people have found this inexpensive item to be a real lifesaver. We’ve been selling these safety switches since we first started HVAC service.
People seem to like the peace of mind they get knowing something is watching their condensate drainage, so it doesn’t come through the ceiling.
As long as these things are mounted properly and inspected every year for proper operation, it will last for many years.
Some people don’t think these will fit their HVAC system either. There is a condensate safety switch for every single evaporator coil out there. Whether your system is in the attic or garage, the potential for the primary drainage to clog and back up is almost 100%.

It’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of when.
People who practice routine maintenance on their system have no idea what we’re talking about because they have never had a clog. This is just another smart thing you can add to your HVAC system that didn’t already come with it.
Your Red Deer Heating and AC HVAC technician will choose the right switch for your system, install it, and wire it to the furnace control board.
If you are not a licensed technician, you could injure yourself or your property unknowingly by installing this safety switch improperly, so leave this to the professionals.
Don’t let this happen to you. It’s expensive to repair your ceiling, let alone match the texture on the ceiling in that particular spot. It’s a real art form to be able to do that. It’s a small price to pay for sheetrock protection.
We hope this answers your questions as to what a condensate safety switch is and how it can work for you and your property. It’s an inexpensive item to purchase, and Red Deer Heating and AC can install it for you.
If you’d like us to come out and take care of that for you, we’d be happy to.
Give us a call! #  (587) 802-3192

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