While cooling a home is the thing most people associate with air conditioning systems, they also have the very important duty of removing moisture from the air to lower humidity. Humidity can make a house feel clammy or unpleasant and is very important to manage. When the water in the air condenses inside the air conditioning unit, it is collected and moves through a small drain pipe through the house and outside. This is the condensation drain line, and while often overlooked by homeowners, is critical to the proper functioning of the air conditioning system.
If this becomes blocked, due to mold and algae growth, the condensation will have nowhere to go and will back up into the air conditioner. This can cause damage to the system and will likely overflow into the home causing even more damage.
Often the first sign of a problem is either water on the floor or a full drip pan. Other indicators can be a consistently humid home or a new musty smell starting to occur.
The best cure is always prevention, and the process is pretty easy and should be followed every few months.
- Pour a cup or two of bleach into the access pipe in the drain line near the air conditioner. This will help to kill any algae or mildew that is starting to grow in the drain line.
- The best process is to pour the bleach in, let it sit for 20 minutes, then rinse the line with water.
- Having someone keep an eye on the exterior opening will allow you to confirm that water is freely flowing through the line.
- This should suffice for most clogs and blockages.
- For tougher blockages, a wet/dry vacuum will be required.
- At the exterior drain, attach the suction hose of the vacuum to the drain, duct tape works wonders here, but a sufficient seal can usually be obtained just by blocking the space with your hand.
- Run the vacuum for about a minute, then shut it off and take a look inside the vacuum for anything that might be responsible for a clog.
- Water can be poured into the access point to confirm proper function.
- If the vacuum doesn't solve the problem, it's likely time to contact a professional. HVAC businesses will be able to handle this issue without trouble, usually by running a stiff wire or tube down the drain and physically scraping the clog off the drain.
For more information on drain cleaning, contact your local HVAC service.