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AC Maintenance: How To Fix A Clogged Condensate Drain

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Your AC is a vital part of your home system, conditioning your indoor air to get rid of pathogens, heat, and moisture so as to create a healthy and comfy environment. Problems with your AC could lead to the buildup of mold and dust in your home, leading to allergies and other health concerns. That is why it is important to schedule AC maintenance at least twice a year so that the dust filters and air ducts can be cleaned. Another serious issue you may experience with your AC unit is clogging in the condensate drain. Read on to learn what this vital component is and how to clear it of clogs. 

What is a condensate drain?

As your AC draws hot and moist air from your home, it channels it into the evaporator coils that house cold refrigerant lines. The air is cooled so as to remove humidity and heat, leaving behind moisture that must be removed so that the AC functions optimally.

The condensate drain is a tube that drains this moisture from the evaporator coils, but it can sometimes get clogged by debris leading to a number of problems. Firstly, a clogged condensate drain essentially leads to water leaks from the AC unit and the possibility of mold growth or odor build up in the air ducts. The clogging can also lead to higher levels of humidity in the home that can be detrimental to the health of your family. 

Fixing a clogged condensate drain

To determine if the condensate drain is clogged, first shut off power to your HVAC unit at both the thermostat and breaker and find your indoor air handler which is often situated in a closet or the attic.

Next, find the condensate pan usually located underneath the air handler and examine it for standing water that would point to a clogged drain. Remove this standing water by sucking it with a shop vacuum and then locate the drain line's access point which is typically a T-shaped vent with a rubber access cover. 

Next, remove the access cover and clear the drain of any debris by blowing it out with compressed air. You should then flush the drain with distilled vinegar to kill mold and algae in the pipe and eliminate any foul odors. 

If you notice any cracks on the condensate drain, call in an HVAC contractor to replace it so as to avoid disastrous water damage or mold growth in your home.