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How High Humidity Affects Your Air Conditioner

condensers-raised-on-slabsWarm weather is here, and hotter weather is on the way. Not only hotter weather, but humid weather. If you’ve spent at least one summer in Georgia, you’ll know that half the battle when it comes to stay cool is finding a way to deal with the intense humidity. Once relative humidity rises above 60%, it becomes harder for the human body to release heat. With more heat trapped in your body, the temperature will feel hotter than it is. An 80°F day will feel like it’s 90°F, or worse.

But humidity isn’t only tough on people. It’s tough on air conditioners. Cooling systems in this area can suffer from specific problems due to the high humidity levels. Below are a few of the issues that might occur in your AC because of our Georgia humidity.

Corrosion on electrical components

One of the immediate threats that water moisture poses to any mechanical system is corrosion, a chemical reaction that occurs between metal and water in the presence of oxygen. The specific trouble for an air conditioner is corrosion on the electrical connections. This can cause motors and fans to shut down.

Clogged condensate drain

Water moisture collects along the evaporator coil in an AC as the coil draws heat from the air. The moisture then drips down into a shallow pan, and a condensate pump and drain remove it. When humidity levels are especially high, however, it can encourage the growth of mold, algae, and mildew in the drain—leading to it becoming slow or clogged completely. If the pan starts to overflow (which it quickly will) it will cause the air conditioner to shut off, and also create water damage. To fix this, technicians will need to detach the pan and clean the drain.

Moldy evaporator coil (“dirty sock syndrome”)

Here’s a common and unpleasant problem: mold develops along the evaporator coil because of all the moisture collecting along it. This sends a mold odor into the vents, the “dirty sock” smell that gives the condition its name. Not only do you get a musty smell in the air, but the mold will restrict how effectively the evaporator coil can draw moisture from the air. We often recommend installing UV air purifiers to remove mold from the AC and keep it from coming back.

To help alleviate other trouble from high humidity problems, we advise taking a few other steps. The first is to always remember to schedule air conditioning maintenance in Alpharetta, GA or elsewhere. When you are signed up for our Comfort Club maintenance plan, we’ll send professionals each spring to see your AC is tuned-up, the condensate drain cleaned, the coils checked, etc. This will delay the toll humidity takes on the system, giving your AC a longer service life. You can also ask us to install a whole-house humidifier; this not only protects the AC, it makes your home more comfortable and reduces the amount of time you need your cooling system running.

Comfort Zone Heating & Cooling serves Cummings, GA and all of North Atlanta. Call our customer service specialists at 770-213-COOL (2665) and let us know how we can help.

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