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Learn How to Properly Maintain your HVAC Condensation Drain Line

Preventing water leaks from your HVAC condensation drain line is easier than you think

Taking time to properly clean your HVAC Condensation Drain Line is easier than you think.  In a few simple steps you can help ensure you do not have a costly water leak from a blocked drain line. 

What is a Condensation Line?

Condensate lines play a critical role in your HVAC system.  This line is a small CPVC, PVC or other tubing line that removes the condensation produced by your air conditioner’s evaporator coil.  This line is noticeable on the outside of your house and typically has a small drip of water coming from it.  If this line gets clogged, it can cause water to build in the drain pan, overflow the pan and cause a leak in your house. 

How does the line become blocked?

Often times during the hot summer months, condensate lines can become blocked with algae and mold growing inside them.  This happens more often in the summer since your AC system works more, pulling moisture out of the humid air leading to more water flowing through the line.

Cleaning Condensate Lines

  1. Turn off the power to your HVAC system at the thermostat then at the breaker.
  2. If you have an indoor air handler in your attic or utility closet, you’ll need to find the condensate pan. It is usually located directly under the unit.
  3. If you see water in the drain pan, your drain line is probably clogged. Use a handheld or shop vacuum, rags, etc. to remove the water. 
  4. Generally, clogged drains can be cleared with suction. If you have a shop vacuum, you can try to use the vacuum to pull the clog through the line.  Locate the line on the outside of your house, place your shop vac tube around the line, use your hand to cover the line and shop vac tube, improving the suction and run the vacuum for a minute or more. Then, check the vacuum canister to see if the clog was successfully removed. If you cannot remove the clog by the shop vac the following step may work too. 
  5. Next, identify the access point to the drain line. Usually, you can access the drain line from in the drain pan and it is normally a T-shaped vent with a PVC cover. Remove the cover and inspect the drain. Use this port to flush the drain with distilled vinegar or Clorox.
  6. Allow the vinegar or Clorox to sit for 5-30 minutes. Then flush the drain line and put running water down the line.  It is helpful to have a helper outside watching to ensure the water is running freely. 
  7. Clean the drain pan with soap and water and ensure the pan is dry when you are done. 

Know when to call the experts

If you’re unable to access your drain line or follow the steps above and the line will not clear, it is time to call an HVAC Pro to come out and clear the line. The Pros at Dependable Service Plumbing and Air can clean the line and install an access vent, if necessary. Contact us today at 1-843-353-0461 to keep your lines flowing freely during the AC season!

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