How to Inspect AC Drain Pan and Condensate Drain Line

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How to Inspect AC Drain Pan and Condensate Drain Line

Have you ever spilled a glass of water and wondered how 12 ounces can make such a big mess? Now let’s think for a minute about your air conditioner. To keep your Waterford, MI home comfortable it removes the summer humidity from the air. Depending on conditions the A/C removes five to 20 gallons of water from the air every day. For comparison’s sake, twenty gallons equals 2,560 ounces or 213 glasses of water EVERY day. It’s pretty clear to see how a problem with the condensate system can add up to a big mess.

How it’s supposed to work

All that water is supposed to be drained away, usually through a PVC pipe. Either the force of gravity or a small electric pump carries the water outside or to a floor drain. Without proper air conditioning maintenance, the drain system can malfunction. When that happens, the water backs up and can damage the HVAC equipment or your home. In a worst-case scenario, the problem may not be spotted until the water has damaged ceilings and walls, especially if the air handler is located in an attic.

When things go wrong

Most problems with the condensate drain usually start with mold and dirt inside the PVC pipe. Slowly more debris builds up until the pipe is blocked. Thankfully, this is one part of air conditioning maintenance that lends itself to the do-it-your-selfer. To allow for maintenance the PVC pipe is not cemented. You should be able to detach the pipe near the air handler and pour a cup of vinegar through the pipe to remove mold and algae. You can also use a bleach/water mixture but make sure you do it during the cooling season, so the bleach doesn’t sit in the PVC pipe. Whichever method you choose, it should be done every couple months. It’s also a good idea to inspect the system regularly to look for any sign of leaking water.

Not a substitute for regular service

A problem with the condensate system can also be a sign of underlying problems with your air conditioner. Vinegar and bleach are great but don’t think they are a substitute for regular air conditioning maintenance by the pros from Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. During the visit our trained technician does a thorough cleaning and inspects the drain pan and condensate drain line.

Waiting for your call

Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is always here to help with any home comfort issues you might have. And the next time you are cleaning up the mess from a spilled glass of water in your Waterford, MI home, pause just a moment to think about how important air conditioning maintenance is to prevent a much larger mess. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.