In the summer, there are three frequent repairs that we see at the properties we manage in Arizona. These repairs can be costly but the good news is that they are all avoidable. The first problem we see occurs with the A/C system drain line.
The A/C system's drain line is usually located between the ceiling and the roof. The evaporator coil within the system's air handler produces condensate. The moisture produced from the evaporator coil is set up to be drained through a primary drain pan line. A problem occurs when this pan clogs as moisture from the system mixes with the dirt in the air and the system.
When the primary pan clogs, most systems are set up with a secondary pan to handle the overflow. However, the secondary pan can also get clogged and when this happens there is no place for the condensate to go except out of the pan and into the ceiling. We have also seen systems set up poorly so that the secondary pan does not work or the pan is not level which leads to frequent clogs.
Once the system starts to overflow, damage to the ceiling area can occur quickly. This leads to costly drywall repairs especially if the leak isn't noticed early by the tenant.
This problem is avoidable at your Arizona rental units. Frequent changing of the air filters helps but can you really depend on your tenant to change the filters with the frequency they need to?
The best thing to do is have the drainage system professionally cleaned out. At the time this is done, you can put in a condensate safety switch into your drainage system. This device is installed at the secondary pan and is a float. When the water level gets to a certain point in the pan, it shuts the system off.
The solution is inexpensive and if and when the safety switch shuts the system off, the drains can be cleaned out.