Damage from damp and condensation is one of the most common reasons for maintenance being required on a building. By the time the visible signs of damp are apparent, such as discoloured paintwork and mould growth, then the damage has already set in. This is a sign that – unseen and usually unfelt – an unhealthy amount of moisture and condensation has built up within your air conditioning system.
During the winter months the problem of damp is an especial concern, so here are some tips that are easy to adopt and can slow the damaging effects of moisture in your building.
1) Is your drain pan overflowing?
Your AC unit disperses water from your building through a number of drain lines, with a drain pan to manage any overflow. Over time, your drain lines accumulate dirt and residue from the air, impeding their efficiency and causing water to accumulate in the drain pan. If the drain pan becomes too full it risks overflowing, leading to a build-up of damp and damage from condensation. To avoid this issue, check your drain lines regularly to clear them of dust and dirt. A sign that there is an issue is the presence of excess moisture when you go to change the filter on your AC unit. A monthly check will help keep your system in good health all through the year.
2) Check your drain lines
Getting clogged up isn’t the only potential issue with drain lines. If the unit is old or has been incorrectly installed the lines may come loose or disconnect entirely. This will result in water simply flooding out of your air con unit, causing a lot of damage. Check your fittings at regular intervals to minimise the chances of this happening, and never ignore a leak, as this could be the first signs of a loose drain line.
3) Keep a check on your refrigerant charge
If your air conditioning unit starts to run low on refrigerant then it will start to freeze while in use. Ice build-up can be a damaging factor in its own right, but worse is the water released into the system as the ice thaws when the system is switched off. Usually this melt water comes straight through the ceiling, causing damage to paintwork and plaster.
4) Install a P-Trap
Some models of AC Unit operate using negative airflow. This means that instead of blowing air out of the system they suck it in, creating negative air pressure that prevents water passing out through the drain lines. While the system is running this isn’t a problem, but once the unit is switched off the pressure is released and the water flows out, at risk of flooding the vents
If you have a negative flow system, you can prevent flooding by installing a P-Trap. These simple components prevent water being forced back into the vent by the oncoming air, keeping it contained in the trap instead. P-Traps go a long way to reduce the overall levels of condensation within your system and the damage that goes with it.
Although damp and condensation are seen as an inevitable part of life, there are steps that AC Unit owners can take to reduce the potential damage and maintain optimum air quality at all times of year. Following the steps outlined above will extend the life of your system, prevent damage to paint and plasterwork and improve the air quality in your building.