The condensate drain line in your central air conditioner safely conveys water out of your house. Lots of it. On a humid summer day, the evaporator coil in a residential A/C can extract over 25 gallons of water vapor from the air. If everything works right, as condensate collects in the drip pan beneath the indoor air handler, the drain line conveys it to a household drain connection or discharges it outside.
If something goes awry, however—like a clog in the condensate drain line—the drip pan overflows and continues overflowing every time the A/C cycles on. Because the air handler is typically enclosed inside a closet, many gallons may be spilled before it’s noticed. By then, expensive water damage to the house—and possibly to valuable possessions, too—has already occurred.
Be alert to these signs that your condensate drain line needs to be cleaned:
- Unexplained pooling of water around the indoor air handler. The most likely suspect is drip pan overflow due to a clogged or sluggish drain line.
- Standing water inside the pan. It’s normal for the drip pan under the air handler to be wet when the system’s running. However, standing water accumulating in the pan indicates a problem such as a clog or a kink in the drain line.
- System shuts itself down. If your A/C inexplicably shuts off and won’t start again, the drip pan may be full. Some systems incorporate a safety sensor to prevent drip pan overflow by automatically shutting down the unit if the drain line clogs. This requires a qualified HVAC service tech to clear the clog and restart the system.
Professional service for condensate drain issues includes using air pressure to blow out the entire span of drain line. Since algae or mold growth in the drip pan is the most common cause of clogs, the pan and drain line are cleaned and sterilized. Time-release biocide tablets may also be installed in the pan to prevent recurrence for the rest of the cooling season.
For qualified service to diagnose and resolve condensate drain line issues, contact the pros at Roth Heating & Cooling.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).