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Clogged Up? How to Clean Your AC’s Condensate Line

AC's Condensate Line
Posted on in Articles

The air conditioning system in your Beaumont, Texas, home is a necessity, especially during the hottest months of the year. Without a functional AC, you'd be stuck in a hot and humid space without much relief. If your air conditioner isn't providing sufficient cooling, you could have a clogged condensate drain line. Follow these steps to get it cleared out in no time.

Importance of Regular Cleaning

Your air conditioner has an outdoor unit with a dripping line connected to it. This line is also called the condensate drain, and it removes moisture produced by the evaporator coil from the unit. The line can become clogged with algae and biological growth without proper cleaning, which can lead to musty odors, increased humidity levels, and even water damage in your home. The presence of biological growth can also be dangerous in the home since it can lower the indoor air quality and cause reactions and symptoms among those with allergies. Cleaning out the line on a regular basis will prevent these problems from occurring, as well as remove any clogs.

What You Need

Before you get started, collect the supplies needed to safely and properly clean the line. You'll need a funnel, some rags that can get dirty, distilled vinegar, and a wet/dry vacuum. With these supplies in hand, you can then head to the thermostat to turn off the power to your HVAC system. Make sure it's completely off and not just adjusted to stop running.

Condensate Pan Cleaning

If your system includes an indoor air handler, look for the condensate pan. This handler is usually located in a utility closet or in the attic. When the condensate line is clogged, the pan will have standing water in it. This is when you'll need the wet/dry vacuum if you have one. If you don't, use the rags to soak up the water. You should then wash the pan with hot, soapy water to remove any biological growth or algae that may have accumulated.

Use Suction

When the drain is clogged, the first thing to try is suction. Use the shop vacuum to pull the clog through the opening of the drain, which is located near the foundation of your home on the exterior of the property. Improve the power of the suction by placing your hand around the pipe's opening. If you hear something move through the pipe and into the canister, you have probably cleared the clog. You can also try using a small drain snake or surgical tubing within the pipe to clear the blockage.

When a drain line has sharp curves and turns, it's much more difficult to clear it yourself. An HVAC professional can use specialized equipment to remove any clogs and gunk that have accumulated in your line.

Clean the Access Point

Every drain line has an access point which is usually T-shaped and covered with PVC. Remove that PVC cover and look into the drain to see if you can see any clogs or built-up debris. This step is when you'll need the distilled vinegar. If you don't like the smell of vinegar, you can also use hot water and a drop of dish soap or peroxide to flush the drain. Allow the solution you choose to sit in the drain for 30 minutes, and then flush it with hot water. Make sure to check the pipe outside to confirm that all the water is moving through the line and draining properly.

Recurring Drain Line Problems

If you continue to have issues with your drain line getting clogged or growing unwanted substances, it might be time to talk to an HVAC professional about installing an access vent. This allows easier access to the line for more regular cleaning. You can also have the line flushed and cleaned every year as part of your annual cooling system maintenance. Make sure to let your technician know that you're interested in this service as it may not be part of the routine maintenance plan.

At Thermacon Service Company, Inc., we can tackle a variety of cooling system issues and keep your home feeling comfortable, so give us a call at 409-299-3076.

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