Cleaning the A/C condensate drain ranges from simple preventive maintenance to an urgent emergency service call if the system clogs and overflows. Here in Florida, a busy residential central air conditioner can condense over 25 gallons of water every day. As long as the condensate drain system is flowing freely, it all goes through a drain line to an outdoor discharge point or into a connection with the household sanitary sewer.
When blockages occur, however, an overflowing condensate drain pan can rapidly wreak serious consequences inside your house. Depending on the location of the air handler, you could experience water damaged structural components, a ceiling cave-in, mold growth or ruined HVAC equipment.
What You Can Do
DIY steps for cleaning the A/C condensate drain system are limited mainly to a preventive procedure.
- Most condensate drain lines are PVC pipe. Near the connection to the condensate drain pan, locate the U-shaped trap inserted in the span of drain line. A short pipe with a threaded clean-out cap normally extends upwards from the trap.
- Unscrew the clean-out cap and insert a funnel. Pour a cup of white distilled vinegar into the drain line.
- Allow the solution to remain in the line for 30 minutes, then flush the line with water.
When to Call a Professional
For existing blockages that are already triggering an overflow, consult your HVAC service provider. A qualified technician will remove the blockage from the drain pipe using pressurized air or suction, or by snaking the line. After the line is clear, issues causing the blockage will be addressed. Frequently, mold or algae growth in the warm, wet environment of the drain pan is the culprit. If evidence of active mold or algae is discovered, the technician will disinfect the drain system, then install time-release biocide tablets or cartridge to continue inhibiting mold and algae growth throughout the cooling season.
For more information on cleaning the A/C condensate drain system, check out Aqua Plumbing & Air’s air conditioning service solutions or call (941) 306-3715.