Frozen Drain Pipe? Don’t Let Changing Seasonal Weather Damage Your AC

If you live in an area of the United States that's experiences more mild or warm weather during the winter's daylight hours than cold weather, you may use your central AC to stay comfortable during those times. Once the weather becomes cold in the evening or at night, you may switch the AC back to heat. Switching your AC's thermostat back and forth can eventually cause the drain pipe to freeze, burst and thaw out. Here's why your drain pipe freezes, as well as tips you can use to keep it from happening to you.

What Causes Your Drain Pipe to Freeze Over?

Even during warm, winter days, the humidity levels indoors and outdoors can rise and make the home feel hot and uncomfortable. Although switching your AC from heat to cool lowers the home's humidity, it can create a big problem when the weather cools down later, especially if your AC's drain pipe still contains water from the day's increased humidity levels. Here's why.

A drain pipe receives water from your central air conditioner's evaporator coil. The evaporator coil is the part of your central AC that cools hot air as it travels in and out of your home. This important action creates a lot of moisture as it removes the heated air. However, the moisture leaves the evaporator coil by dripping into a pan. When the pan gets too full, it empties out into the drain pipe.

Normally, the drain pipe empties its water content out in the yard or near the outdoor AC unit. You may notice condensation on the drain pipe as it empties out. If the temperature suddenly dips to cold, the water inside the drain pipe freezes and the condensation on the outside of the pipe turns to frost. Once you turn on your heat to cool off the next day, the ice melts and leaks out onto the flooring beneath your indoor unit. You'll have numerous problems to deal with if the drain pipe bursts, including these below: 

Expensive Repairs to Your AC

Your heating and cooling specialists will need to replace the drain pipe, as well as check the evaporator coil to see if it sustained damage from the bursting drain pipe. The thin coils of the evaporator part can bend or twist from any water pressure that pushes back up into it. A damaged evaporator can't cool or heat your home because it won't have the ability to circulate air into the home.

Expensive Repairs to Your Flooring

You may also need to repair the flooring beneath your AC if the water penetrated the wood. Wet wood may develop mold and mildew, which endangers your health. These contaminants create respiratory problems, such as coughing, nasal dripping and infection of the lungs.

You can avoid the problems altogether by using other methods to cool your home when it warms up during the day.

What Can You Do to Keep Cool During the Day?

Here's what you can do to remove the humidity and keep nice and cool:

Run a Dehumidifier in the Home

A dehumidifier removes moisture from your home, which helps keep it cool and comfortable. You might invest in a large dehumidifier that covers up to three rooms at a time. It may save you money on your electrical expenses as well.

Flush Out Your Drain Pipe

Once you purchase your dehumidifier, contact your air conditioning specialists and ask them to flush out your drain pipe. Flushing out your drain pipe can help remove any water left behind from the last time you switched the AC's thermostat from cool to heat. As a result, you prevent future frozen pipes when you place the AC in its cooling mode. 

You may want to open up your windows to let in fresh air during the day. The fresh air can also get rid of the humidity in your home.

If you need additional ideas for staying cool on those warm, winter days, contact your AC technicians from a place like A Bailey Plumbing. They may offer tips and products that help you maintain a comfortable home.