How the Float Switch Protects Your HVAC System

There are several important items that go into your heating and air system within your home, and one such item that many people have no idea about is the float switch. Located in your air conditioning or heating system, the float switch is a vital component that prevents dangerous overflows that can cause costly repairs.

At AirNow Cooling & Heating, we can help with the float switch and any other area of AC repair that’s needed. Let’s go over how the float switch accompanies normal air conditioner function, and how it can save your HVAC system from major damage.

Basic Air Conditioner Function

To understand why float switches are needed, you first need to understand how the air conditioner works. The AC unit removes heat and moisture from the air using a process called phase conversion – this is where refrigerant chemicals are converted from liquid to gas, then back into liquid again.

From here, the gas vapor moves into a device called a compressor, which heats and compresses the air before sending it to the condenser. The condenser pressurizes it even further into a liquid form, then moves it to an expansion valve, where it expands back into gas. Through a process called flash evaporation, the temperature of this gas is once again lowered, then sent through an evaporator where it helps cool down warm air. This process is then repeated over and over.

Possible Overflow

This cycle slowly builds up liquid condensate, which builds up in a drain pan before emptying outside your home. But over time, various particles, algae, dust, dead skin, bacteria and other items may build up during the draining process, leading to an overflow of liquid that damages the AC unit and the building it’s installed in.

How Float Switches Help

The float switch is here to prevent this overflow from taking place. When the drain pan reaches a certain level, the float switch is designed to spring into use, sending a signal to the rest of the apparatus to deactivate the compressor before an overflow can take place. Without the float switch, this overflow would simply happen after a certain amount of time no matter what, often requiring a full overhaul of your HVAC system.

For more on the float switch, or to learn about any of our other HVAC services, speak to the pros at AirNow Cooling & Heating.