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4 Important Things to Know About AC Condensate Drain Lines

by Blake Wiltshire | Oct 02, 2020 | Residential HVAC, Residential Services | 0 Comments

The AC condensate drain line is one of the most essential elements of any home and HVAC system. Not only is it responsible for several tasks, but it also plays a critical role in the overall performance of in-home appliances. Additionally, AC condensate drain lines have a significant role in HVAC systems that are heavily used during the winter and summer months.

However, few homeowners are aware of their condensate drain line's overall performance and how to fix them when the line is clogged. To learn more about AC condensate lines, how they work, and how to prevent yours from becoming clogged again in the future, take a look at our guide to AC condensate drain lines below.


What Is an AC Condensate Drain Line and Why Is It Important?

As the air in your home is cooled or heated, humidity is released, which must then have somewhere to go. This is where the AC condensate drain line comes into play.

The AC condensate drain line connects directly to your HVAC unit and funnels moisture away from it. Essentially, the AC condensate drain line collects water in a condensate pan, which is then directed to the outdoors via an outside wall. Occasionally, a pump may be attached to the HVAC system to assist with the process, but most AC condensate drain lines rely on gravity to help carry the moisture through the drain line.

Excess moisture can prove to be a big problem for homeowners. Not only can it affect the performance of in-home appliances, but moisture can also lead to mold, mildew, spores and rust accumulating in your home. These things can lead to negative effects on both your home and your health.

As we previously mentioned, the AC condensate line prevents moisture from building up inside your HVAC system, as well as your home. A clogged or broken AC condensate drain line can not only lead to water damage to your home but can also lead to foul odors and bacteria in the air you breathe.

Furthermore, if your AC condensate pan overflows, the moisture can also lead to the corrosion of metal components within your home, including your HVAC system, and can cause the need for extensive repairs to fix drywall, carpentry and flooring.

How Do AC Condensate Drain Lines Become Clogged?

When moisture drips from your air conditioner's evaporator coil, it also brings any dirt and debris that is picked up along the way. Over time, after enough dirt and debris has passed through the system, the AC condensate drain line can become clogged.

How to Fix an AC Condensate Drain Line

If you've noticed that your AC condensate drain line is clogged, there's good news. Not only will you be able to fix it, but you can also fix it in as little as five minutes. Here are a few steps you can take to unclog your AC condensate drain line:

1. Turn off Your AC System

The first step is to turn off your AC system. If your air conditioner did not shut off automatically after detecting a clogged condensate drain line, you will have to turn the system off manually.

This step is critical because water will continue to drain and flood your drain pan if the system is not turned off, leading to a much bigger mess to clean up.

2. Find the AC Condensate Drain Line Access and Runoff

Next, you will want to locate the AC condensate drain line access point, as well as its runoff. To find these, look for vertical PVC piping near your indoor AC unit, as well as PVC piping located near your outdoor AC unit.

3. Remove the Clog

Once you've located these two points, now you can start removing the clog. To do this, attach a wet/dry vac hose to the end of the drain line. Then, wrap duct tape around the mouth of the vacuum hose to make the connection as tight as possible. Now, run the vacuum for approximately 1 to 2 minutes before turning it off.

To ensure that you've removed the clog in your AC condensate drain line, open the wet/dry vac and look for what could have been clogging the drain line. In most cases, if you see a lot of brown-colored water, then you've likely removed the clog.

However, if you don't see anything in the vacuum, you may need to run the vacuum for a little bit longer. You can also pour a cup of distilled vinegar down the drain line and let it sit for roughly 30 minutes. If you do not have distilled vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or warm water with dish soap may also work.

How to Prevent an AC Condensate Drain Line Clog

Nobody likes a clogged drain. While they can be bothersome, they can also be prevented. Before you turn on your AC system for the first time in any given season, consider pouring one cup of bleach down the AC condensate drain line to prevent bacteria, mold and mildew from growing in the future. Additionally, you may also want to consider using high-quality filters to trap the dirt and debris that can cause clogged drain lines.

Have Questions About Your AC Condensate Drain Line? Contact Althoff Today.

AC condensate drain lines are among the most critical parts of any HVAC system. If you have questions about your AC condensate drain line or anything related to your HVAC system, contact the professional team at Althoff Industries today. For more than 60 years, Althoff Industries has been the most trusted HVAC repair company in the Chicago area.

With our licensed HVAC technicians team, Althoff Industries offers a wide range of HVAC repair, installation, and routine maintenance services for both commercial and residential properties. Whether your air conditioner stops working or you suspect it's becoming unreliable, there's no problem that the team at Althoff Industries can't solve.

If your HVAC unit is in need of immediate attention, then call our emergency hotline number at (844) 202-7446.

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