Air Conditioning

How Often Should You Clean Your A/C's Condensate Drain Line?

How Often Should You Clean Your A/C's Condensate Drain Line?

Your air conditioner’s condensate drain line is a critical component on Oklahoma summer days. In addition to cooling the air inside your home, the central A/C also extracts water vapor from the air. Lots of it. On a humid day, the evaporator coil sealed inside the indoor air handler can produce many gallons of liquid condensate.If everything’s functioning correctly, condensate collected in the drip pan underneath the air handler flows into the drain line and is safely conveyed away. If a clog develops in the condensate drain line, however, the drip pan will rapidly overflow, potentially spilling gallons of water every time the air conditioner cycles on. Before the problem is even noticed, severe indoor water damage may result.

What Causes Clogs?

The typical culprit in condensate drain line clogs is algae in the drip pan. The warm, wet, dark environment inside the pan provides ideal conditions for growth of algae. Eventually, the sticky, gooey substance invades the drain line and causes a clog. Overflow quickly follows.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Clogs?

DIY prevention can help stop clogs by inhibiting algae growth. Once a month, prepare a mixture of one cup of white vinegar and one cup of water. Pour it into the wide, shallow drip pan underneath the air handler. Take the opportunity to also check out the status of the drip pan. If it’s wet, that’s normal. However, if you notice standing water, that indicates a clogged or sluggish drain line. Turn off the A/C and call a qualified HVAC service contractor.

Professional service to clear a condensate clog includes blowing out the drain line with air pressure, then cleaning and sterilizing the drip pan and drain line to eliminate residual algae. For long-term protection, time-release biocide tablets can also be placed in the drip pan to prevent recurrence of algae growth.

For professional service to resolve condensate drain line problems, contact Air Assurance.

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). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.