During the hot summer months, it’s especially important to keep air conditioner drain lines clean and free of blockages because they keep your A/C pumping cold air! A/C drain lines funnel water and moisture throughout the air conditioning unit during the cooling process. Without proper maintenance, drain lines can clog with mold or dust, making the air they expel harmful to breathe in. Build-up can even cause a unit to shut down.
Not sure whether your A/C lines are running free and clear? Need help getting things flowing freely again? Here’s what you need to know about your drain lines, the signs of a build-up, and how to prevent clogs.
What Are A/C Drain Lines?
When an air conditioner is running, it pulls moisture from the air. As that water collects and cools, it drips into the condensate pan. From there, it travels down the drain line, also known as a condensate drain. Without this piece of the puzzle working well, water could overflow or damage the air conditioner.
4 Signs Your Air Conditioning Drain Line Is Blocked
If your air conditioner is not working, there are a number of possibilities, but if you notice any of these signs, it may be a clue that the drain line is clogged.
1. Standing Water
Standing water is the most obvious sign there is something wrong with your air conditioner. While a tiny bit of water is probably not a concern, if there is more than usual, it may be time to call a professional.
First, find the origin of the standing water. Dripping water will show that it is most likely the air conditioning unit. Once you’ve found the culprit, it’s time to pick up the phone and call a professional.
2. Full Pan
Similar to standing water, if the condensate pan is full time and time again, it could point to a problem with the A/C drain line. This should be addressed immediately as it may lead to mold growth.
3. Moldy Smell
A moldy smell isn’t immediately a sign of a drain line issue, but it could be. For instance, if you’re smelling this musty scent throughout the entire house, it could be a clue that it’s in your central air system. This is detrimental to your family’s health, so it’s important for a professional to remedy the problem right away.
4. Water Damage
You might not see standing water or a full pan, but do you see other obvious signs of water damage? For example, look out for water spots around the unit, near the fan, or on the floor.
4 Ways to Prevent Clogged Air Conditioning Drains
Do this to prevent clogs in your air conditioning unit’s drains.
1. Clean Regularly
Cleaning your drain line regularly is one of the best things you can do to prevent clogs. At least once a year is a good rule of thumb. But in North Texas, where your air conditioning is used more often than in, say, Michigan, you may need to clean the unit more frequently. With a proper, regular cleaning, fungus and excess water won’t have a chance to build up and cause problems.
Regular cleanings can be performed by your local professional. When they come, ask them for a check-up and tune-up as well.
Note: If you decide to clean or unclog the A/C drain yourself, always make sure the HVAC is turned off at both the thermostat and the breaker. Also ensure no one turns it on while you are working.
2. Use High-Quality Air Filters
Although you can find cheap options for air filters, these may not ultimately be the best for your wallet, your home, or your air conditioner. High-quality air filters can help prevent drain clogs, as they keep dust particles and other material from building up on the evaporator coils.
Air filters should be changed out regularly, or they will have too much material on them to do their job effectively. How often you change them is determined by various factors, including:
- Smoking habits
Some homes require an air filter change every month, but the average house requires replacement every three months.
3. Use Bleach or Vinegar
You can help your air conditioner between regular cleanings by pouring a cup of bleach down the opening of the drain inside the unit. This should be performed every three to six months to clean out any harmful material that may be building up and kill algae, mold, or other growths.
If you worry this will make the room stink of bleach, opt for a small amount of vinegar and water instead. Both methods will help get rid of the first stages of a build-up and keep the drain line clean.
4. Routine Maintenance
Regularly scheduled maintenance and tune-ups can go a long way in keeping your air conditioner in working condition for years to come. If you have your air conditioner unit inspected once or twice a year, a technician will be able to spot a problem early on and suggest solutions for it. Some issues can be handled by homeowners, but bigger problems may need the touch of a professional.
Having your equipment checked regularly is the best thing you can do to prevent drain lines from clogging, and can save you money and time on repairs!
Call a Pro
If you’re still unsure or suspect your air conditioner’s problem is getting worse, reach out to a professional. If the problem persists, don’t hesitate. Waiting could allow the issue to become worse and potentially cause harm to yourself, your family, pets, and guests.
If you think your air conditioner’s drain line may be clogged, don’t hesitate to call C&W Plumbing today. Reach us online or at 972-395-2597.
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