Your air conditioner pulls humidity from the air every time it kicks on. It does this by creating condensation as the air flows through the evaporator coils in the air handler. The condensation water collects in a pan and drains away safely under normal conditions.

You may even forget all about the condensation pan and drain since you rarely have to service it if you have annual cleaning and maintenance from an air conditioning service. Here's a look at how this drainage system can malfunction and the repairs it could need.

The Float Switch Stops Working

Some air conditioning systems have float switches in the drain pan. The purpose of the switch is to trigger the AC to shut down if the water in the pan gets too high and threatens to spill over. A malfunctioning float switch could shut your AC down for no reason or fail to shut it down if the water gets too high. The air conditioning repair technician can replace a bad float switch, and they can also install a float switch if your air handler doesn't already have one. A float switch is an important safety mechanism to have since it can prevent water damage to your floor.

The Pump Goes Bad 

Many air conditioning systems are built so water drains from the condensation collection pan by gravity. If your AC is in the basement, it may be necessary to remove the water with a pump. The pump sits in the drain pan and turns on when the water gets high enough. The pump kicks on to move water through the drain and out of the house. If the pump malfunctions, water keeps rising in the pan until it overflows. The air conditioning repair technician can put in a new pump when the old one goes bad.

The Drain Pan Has a Hole

The drain pan that collects the condensation water can develop a hole due to rust. The pan can't be removed in many air conditioners, so if that's the case with yours, the pan has to be patched to keep water from dripping inside the air handler.

Even though you may not think about the condensation drain system too often, it plays an important role in removing humidity from your house. It can also allow water damage to happen if the system fails. Ways to keep the drainage system operating properly are to have an annual maintenance check and to call an air conditioning repair service when you notice water around the air handler.