Cleaning Your Air Conditioner Condensate Drain

June 13, 2018 Published by Leave your thoughts

When you run your air conditioner, you might wonder what happens to all of the condensation. You’ll have a condensate line and drain that drains into your floor drain—don’t mistake this as a sewer, as this is where the condensation runs, and could also be the same drain through which your dehumidifier drains.

You’ll notice this drain when looking at the unit outside your house. You have probably noticed a small, dripping line at some point running from the unit. This is the condensate drain, which removes the condensation produced by the evaporator coil in your air conditioner. You need to keep this drain clean to prevent algae and mold from growing inside of it and clogging it up, which could result in humidity inside your house and some musty odors or potential water damage.

This process should be included in your regular air conditioning maintenance. But if not, here’s a brief overview from a plumber in Fremont, NE of how to get it done yourself. Shut down the power to your HVAC system at the breaker and thermostat, and then begin:

  • Find the condensate pan: The condensate pan is usually located right underneath the unit, and could be covered by a removable panel. This is generally only a step you need to worry about for indoor air handlers in a utility closet or attic.
  • Look for standing water: If there is standing water in the drain pan, then you probably have a clogged drain line. You should use a shop vac to remove the moisture, and then clean the pan with soap and water.
  • Clear the blockage: You might also be able to use your shop vac to clear out the drain clog, though it might take a bit of poking and prodding to loosen that clog enough to where you can vacuum out the debris. If you don’t have a shop vac, you can use surgical tubing to free the blockage. This could be challenging, however, if there are sharp turns in your system that are more prone to blockage. Keep in mind that there could be underlying problems with your drain line and entire system that may be responsible for a lack of water flow.
  • Find the drain line access point: Typically the drain will have a T-shaped vent with a PVC plastic cover. Take that cover off and analyze the drain. In this port, you can flush out the drain with distilled vinegar, peroxide or a mixture of hot water and a small amount of dish soap. Allow your solution to sit inside the pipe for about a half hour before flushing it out with water. You should have a helper watch the pipe outside to let you know if the water is running through it freely.

These are just a few tips and steps to add to your regular air conditioning maintenance routine to keep your condensate line clear. For more information, contact a plumber in Fremont, NE at Wiese Plumbing & Excavating, Inc.

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