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Watch Out for These 3 A/C Condensate Drain Problems

Watch Out for These 3 A/C Condensate Drain Problems

You might be surprised to learn that your home's central air conditioning system is more than a cooling system. If it's working properly, it also should also dehumidify your home. As a result of this two-fold function, all that moisture removed from the air has to go someplace. In most systems, the water drains away without any issues, though in some systems, A/C condensate drain problems can arise. Following are some of the most common.


In a properly operating A/C drainage system, moisture removed from indoor air during the cooling process will drip from the evaporator coil into a collection pan. It then flows through a condensate drain line to the household sewage drainage system and then out of the house. The collection pan and condensate drain provide a welcoming environment for algae growth. The algae can clog the drain line, resulting in water backing up, overflowing the collection pan and flooding the area around the evaporator coil. This can damage floors, walls, carpets, fixtures and belongings, and the homeowner may not find out about the water backup until it's too late. If your A/C is equipped with an overflow sensor, it will shut down the system until the clog is addressed.

Drain Trap Problems

In most central A/Cs, the condensate drain line has a U-shaped trap, similar to the traps you see in toilet plumbing. Its purpose is to keep sewer gases and fumes from backing up into the house. If you start smelling nasty odors coming from air conditioning supply registers, it could mean a problem with the drain trap. You'll want to call a plumber or A/C technician ASAP.

Mold Growth

Mold spores love the dark, damp area around an A/C's condensate collection pan and drain. From there, mold can make an easy jump into household air during the cooling process. This creates a health hazard for home occupants, especially those with allergies and other respiratory conditions.

To prevent common A/C condensate drain problems, please contact us at Air Assurance to schedule preventive maintenance on your Tulsa area home's cooling system.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Mark Hayes/Shutterstock”