Float Switch: The Best “Insurance” for Your A/C Unit

When speaking with customers about preventive care on their air conditioning units, one of the first items we recommend is a float switch. A float switch is by far the cheapest form of “insurance” you can get for your air conditioning unit that can save your home from water damage caused by your A/C unit.

How does a float switch work?

Each A/C unit condensates and drains water through its attached lines, removing humidity from the home. Water drains outside of your home through a small pipe. You can usually identify which pipe is the A/C drain line by finding the lush patch of grass underneath it. As with any gravity-fed pipe that carries water, the lines have the potential to form algae or collect debris such as hair or dust that gets past the air filter. This buildup can cause the drain line to get clogged, causing water to backup. Without proper drainage, the water line will continue to collect water, causing your air conditioning unit to overflow with excess water.

The float switch is a sensor that detects liquid level and prevents overflow. As water rises, so does your float switch. Once it reaches a certain threshold within your drain line, the switch triggers your system to shut down, preventing your A/C from producing additional water and overflowing.

How do I know if my float switch is working?

If your air conditioner turns on and off randomly or takes longer than normal to switch back on, that’s a great sign that your system has a float switch and it’s working properly. In this case, there is a “soft clog” and the air conditioning system is producing more water than the drain line can handle. In this instance, you should contact a technician for maintenance.

If your air conditioner turns off but does not turn back on, this is an indicator that your drain line is fully clogged. Call your air conditioning technician for servicing as your drain line may be too clogged to alleviate any water pressure and could overflow your unit.

How do I know if my unit has a float switch?

The next time your air conditioning technician is servicing your unit, ask if you have a float switch. He/she should be able to easily identify it and notify you.

If you notice water damage near the air conditioning unit in your home, that’s a sign you do not have a properly installed float switch. Contact your air conditioning technician before water damage becomes excessive and further damages your home.

Who should have a float switch?

Any homeowner with an air conditioning system should have a float switch installed in their unit. The assurance this provides for homeowners in the long-run outweighs the small investment to have one properly installed.

Homeowners with air conditioning units in their attic should be proactive about having a float switch installed as any water damage to ceilings can be more destructive and expensive to fix once the damage has occurred.

Unsure if you have a float switch in your air conditioning unit? Call North East Air Conditioning for an appointment.


Call: 210-658-0111