DIY AC Maintenance: Check Your Condensate Line

Is there a pool of water around your Lorton, Virginia, air conditioner’s indoor unit? Is there ice on your AC cooling coils? How about a foul smell coming from your ductwork? These are all symptoms of a clogged condensate drain line. Here’s how to fix the problem:

How Does the Condensate Line Work?

Indoor air travels across the AC cooling coils where moisture is removed and transferred to a drain pan under the coils. From there, the water passes into the condensate drain, flows through the length of the pipe, and is deposited on the ground near your AC’s outdoor unit. You can check the line by visually inspecting it; if the AC is on, water should be dripping from the pipe.

How Do Condensate Drains Get Clogged?

The more humid your environment, the more likely it is that your drain will get clogged. Without regular cleaning, algae, dirt, sediment, debris and other assorted gunk will collect in the line. When the line gets clogged, the moisture can’t drain. Some air conditioners will automatically shut down; others continue to run, but the clog damages the system.

Perform AC Maintenance by Cleaning the Line

Cleaning the line is easy. You’ll need a wet/dry vacuum with a hose that makes an airtight seal over the drain pipe. Without an airtight seal, there won’t be enough suction to remove all the sludge. Connect the hose of the vacuum to the drain line and let the vacuum run for a few minutes. You should see a load of grungy slime in the vacuum’s bucket. Now, clean the condensate drain pan and flush the pan and the drain line with chlorine bleach to discourage future clogging.

Don’t ignore condensate line clogs; they can cause leaks in your ceiling, damage your floors and start electrical fires. That slimy buildup in the drain pan can pollute your indoor air with disease-causing bacteria. Most Lorton, Virginia, homeowners prefer to have an HVAC service technician clean the line as part of a complete AC tuneup. To get a coupon for a discount on AC maintenance, visit Commonwealth Cooling & Heating, LLC, or call (703) 436-8028 to schedule an air conditioner tuneup.

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