Do you know about your HVAC system’s condensate drain line? This is the part of the system where the condensation that gathers on the evaporator coils is channeled as it is drawn out of the home’s air. The evaporator coils are essential to the cooling process, as refrigerant passes through them and absorbs heat from the home, to be exhausted outside. As this happens, the coils are also essential to the air conditioner’s ability to help dehumidify the home by removing moisture in the form of condensation.
When everything is working right, the moisture goes down the drain, the house’s relative humidity remains within an acceptable level and the air is properly cooled. But when the drain is plugged up, you’ve got problems. Read on to understand how condensate drains get clogged, and what to do about it.
How Condensate Drains Get Clogged
As moisture condenses on your evaporator coils, it becomes mingled with dirt that is drawn into the system through the return air — particularly if you’re not scrupulous about changing your air filter regularly. Over time, this dirt and moisture can breed bacteria, mold and fungus, and cause a kind of sludge that forms in the line and in the drain pan. Sometimes this sludge will be substantial enough to plug up the line. When that happens, water may fill up the pan and overflow, causing puddles on the floor near your HVAC system, or if the evaporator is located in the attic, it can ruin the ceiling and walls.
Telltale signs of a clogged condensate drain line are these:
- Dripping sounds inside the interior unit of the HVAC system;
- Water stains and puddles in the areas mentioned above;
- Failure of A/C to cool or dehumidify the home.
Preventing Drain Clogs
To prevent drain clogs, it will help to regularly change your air filter. In addition, have your HVAC technician inspect the drain line and pan during annual maintenance, and if necessary, clean it out with bleach and water.
For more on cleaning the condensate drain line, contact Cool Power of Long Island.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 631-292-0629.