Improving Your Air Conditioner

How To Unclog An AC Condensate Drain Line

In central heating and air systems, the evaporator coils are installed above the furnace blower. These coils are responsible for cooling the air that is blown over them when you turn on your air conditioner. Because the coils get so cold, moisture in the air around them will condense onto the coils.

The condensate drain pan is found directly below the evaporator coils. The pan collects condensation that drips off and routes it through a drain line out of your home. Sometimes, the drain line can get clogged and stop draining properly. Here's what you should do if your condensate drain line is clogged.

Signs of a Clogged Drain Line

The main symptom of a clogged condensate drain line is water pooling on the floor around your furnace. When the drain is clogged, water will build up in the drain pan until it spills over the edges and runs down the sides of your furnace.

If you see mold inside your drain pan, it's possible that there's a partial clog in the drain that hasn't gotten bad enough to block water completely yet. If the drain is slow, water can sit in the pan long enough to allow mold to grow. Take action if you see mold in your drain pan as a complete clog could be just around the corner.

How to Unclog the Drain Line

To clear your condensate drain line, you will need to look in two places: the vent tee where the line connects to the drain pan and the spout outside near your condenser where the line exits your home. Starting with the outside spout, push a wire brush into the line and manually clear as much muck as possible. Next, attach a wet/dry vac hose to the spout and let it run for a minute or two.

After you work on the outside spout, go indoors and turn off power to your furnace. Open the furnace access panel and look for the drain pan directly below the coils. If the pan is full, vacuum it out with the wet/dry vac. Open the top cap on the vent tee, clean the tee with the wire brush, and then vacuum from that side. Finish by pouring a 50/50 mixture of water and bleach into the tee.

With these easy steps, you can get your condensate drain flowing smoothly again and prevent costly water damage around your HVAC system. 

To learn more about your AC evaporator coils, contact a residential AC service in your area.