It’s not the heat that gets you, it’s the humidity!
We have all heard someone say that at some point, and there is some truth to the sentiment. If the weather is very hot but is also pretty dry, then it really does not feel quite as uncomfortable as it would if the air was very humid. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to have a dehumidifier installed in your home, of course, but it is something to be aware of.
We are putting aside the conversation about dehumidifiers for n0w, though. Instead, we want to focus specifically on how humidity affects your air conditioning system. What does the air conditioner do when it is very humid? How does it respond? Can it cause problems? Does it even matter at all?
It’s a lot to cover here, so we do want to get right into it. First, though, let us remind you that we are the professionals to call when you need AC services of any kind, including air conditioning repair in Melbourne, FL.
Yes, an Air Conditioner Does Dehumidify the Air
It is not, however, a whole-house dehumidifier. The way in which an air conditioner removes moisture from the air is actually through the cooling process itself. As refrigerant evaporates in the evaporator coil, moisture is drawn out of the air as its temperature drops (due to heat absorption by the refrigerant being evaporated). Is it enough to sufficiently dehumidify the air for more comfortable living conditions? In some instances it may be, but those homeowners struggling to regulate humidity are much better off with designated dehumidification systems.
What Happens to This Moisture?
When your air conditioner removes moisture from the air as a byproduct of the cooling process, it still has to do something with the moisture (which condenses on the evaporator coil). That is where the condensate drain line and drain assembly come into play. The condensation simply drips off of the coil, and collects in the drain pan. Then, it drains out through the drain line.
If the pan is rusted through, if it is misaligned, or if the drain line is clogged up for any reason, that condensate can back up and leak around the AC unit. We sometimes get calls from worried homeowners that think their air conditioning systems have sprung a leak, as a result! Fortunately, the necessary fix is quite easy in such cases.
Can Condensate Cause Other Problems?
In at least one case, yes—very much so, in fact!
If you have a refrigerant leak, the evaporator coil is going to get too cold because it is not drawing a sufficient amount of heat out of the air. When that happens, ice can develop on the coil. That creates an insulating barrier, which in turn makes it all the more difficult for the AC to remove a sufficient amount of heat. That leads to increased wear and tear, as well as reduced energy efficiency and cooling output.