Commercial HVAC systems are expensive, and you want yours to last as long as possible. Like any other equipment, however, the parts wear out over time and eventually must be replaced. That can put a strain on your budget, so whenever possible you’d probably prefer to refurbish a part rather than replace it. Air conditioner drain pan repair, for instance, is one way you as a building owner or manager can save considerable money. What’s more, in these environmentally-conscious times, it’s almost always better to refurbish than throw away.
Following is an explanation of how corrosion undermines drain pans, and why refurbishment of the pan might be the best course of action for you.
Condensation and Corrosion in Drain Pans
Air conditioners work by moving warm air over an evaporator coil containing refrigerant. During this process, water vapor in the air condenses into droplets, which are collected in the condensate pan and then drain away. This is the basic mode of operation for air conditioners, be it a residential window unit or a commercial system.
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The larger the air conditioner, the greater the amount of condensation entering the pan and flowing down the drain. Over time, condensate drain pans that aren’t well maintained may begin to rust; slime and even bacteria can start to build up so that they eventually clog the drain, causing it to overflow. The condensate drain pan should be kept clean and in good working order, not only for the health and safety of the building’s occupants, but also for the proper operation of the HVAC system and to avoid damage to the building.
Drain pans in a commercial air conditioner get a heavy workout, and may under water almost continuously. Corrosion of the surface is likely over time. Among the problems that corrosion can cause are:
- Unlevel surfaces, which may promote pools of stagnant water, resulting in microbial growth and attendant odors.
- Rough surface. Rust in the condensate pan leads to irregularities in the surface so that the pan is harder to clean and more likely to harbor microbes.
- Corrosion can result in leaks, which in turn cause flooding and water damage. Leaking water can lead to bad odors that may be difficult to contain.
- Structural integrity compromised. Corrosion may also affect the structural integrity of the pan, so that it’s dangerous to walk over it.
- Equipment breakdown. Corrosion in the drain pan may damage the air handler, so that repair or premature replacement is necessary.
Air Conditioner Drain Pan Repair – Extending the Life of Your Drain Pan
There are ways to avoid the expense of replacing the drain pan by extending the life of the one you have. But just scraping the pan with a wire brush and painting the surface with rust-resistant paint won’t work. Because the condensate pans of larger commercial air handling units are usually filled with water, coatings that aren’t specifically designed for submersion will tend to peel and flake, and conditions will be worse than prior to the application.
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Fortunately, some products do a good job of air conditioner drain pan repair. One widely used product that rebuilds pans stops corrosion and even helps make the refurbished drain pan stronger is Pancrete. Pancrete is applied as a coating to the condensate pans and condenser section floors of rooftop A/C units. The coating seals leaks and forms a uniform, water-repellent surface that deters water buildup. Pancrete also prevents corrosion on side-walls, fan blower enclosures, corroded chilled water piping, inlet and outlet plenums and other system components.
Contact SANAIR Indoor Air Quality, serving the Newport News area since 1994, for cleaning complete HVAC systems for your home or business. SANAIR has a team of trained and certified professional technicians who use only EPA approved products for cleaning air ducts and your entire system.