Air Conditioner Shuts Off and Does Not Turn Back On? Check the Condensate Overflow Tray Switch

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Moisture is usually formed as a byproduct of the air-conditioning process. To avoid complications such as mold growth and air-conditioner unit housing rust, manufacturers usually install a condensate drainage system that is made up of a condensate collector tray and a system of condensate drain lines that guide the moisture to a safe dumping zone.

An additional defense layer is sometimes added to ensure that both the air conditioner and the building get fool-proof protection against moisture damage. This usually takes the form of a condensate overflow tray whose work is to collect any moisture that leaks from an overflowing condensate collector tray. And just in case a condensate overflow tray is not enough to prevent an air-conditioner water leak, a condensate overflow tray switch is usually added.

Unfortunately, these additional water-leak protection measures are sometimes to blame for air-conditioner shut-offs.

Air-conditioner water leaks and why the additional protection measures work

Air conditioners usually start to leak when there is a problem with the condensate drainage system. The leak may occur as a result of a clogged condensate drain line or an undersized condensate collector tray. Leaks may also happen in cases where ice that sometimes forms on the evaporator coils suddenly melts, flooding the condensate collector tray and causing it to overflow.

A condensate overflow pan usually keeps this water from flowing onto the housing of the air conditioner. And by so doing, the pan also keeps the water from leaking out of the air-conditioning unit.

However, the presence of a condensate overflow tray is sometimes not enough to prevent a leak. In such cases, a condensate overflow tray switch usually does the job. The switch does this by simply shutting the air conditioner down. This usually helps to prevent leaks, since it essentially stops the condensate-causing process that takes place in the evaporator coil. Unfortunately, this will also means that your business premises will have to go without air conditioning.

Reviving your air conditioner after a condensate overflow tray switch shut-off

Emptying the condensate overflow tray is usually enough to get your air conditioner back into functioning mode. However, it is rarely a permanent solution to this problem. This is because for as long as the underlying cause of the condensate overflow exists, your air conditioner is bound to shut off again. Therefore, unclogging the air conditioner's drain lines, installing a larger condensate collector tray, and preventing coil icing by carrying out maintenance routines such as cleaning your system's air filters right after emptying the condensate overflow tray is advisable. If your system won't turn back on, you are likely dealing with a defective condensate overflow tray switch. In such a case, replacing the switch is advisable.

Contact a company like Associated Mechanical Contractors, Inc. for help or more information. 

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