Usually, with A/C units, when the warm air crosses over the cold evaporator coils, condensation will occur and drip into the condensate drain pan below. Ensuring your A/C unit’s condensate pan & overflow line are working correctly will help keep your house safe from unwanted water damage. It is easy for debris to get into the overflow pan and clog the drain hole, which forces water to overflow. As the weather gets nicer & temperatures start rising, the number of service calls to HVAC professionals significantly increases because this can be a common issue within many homes. It’s a good idea to inspect before the damage happens. This is how to inspect your a/c condensate pan & overflow line!
This is a Safety Task!
Overflowing water can get into electric switches or light fixtures, which causes a short that can result in a fire.
This is a Health Task!
Excess moisture can cause mold and mildew throughout the home.
This is a Preventative Maintenance Task!
Cleaning the air conditioner’s drain line will prevent the system from overflowing the drain pan and causing water damage to the ceiling, walls, or floor. The damage can require the replacement of insulation, drywall, paint, and flooring. Data shows damages costing up to $10,000 for this minor oversight by homeowners.
Tasks can be done by: Homeowner, handyman, plumber, HVAC company
How To Inspect Your A/C Condensate Pan & Overflow Line | Task Steps
Step 1 – Inspect the drain line for clogs
- Check the drain line, which usually is a PVC pipe located near the outdoor unit and attached to your house’s outside roofline or wall. Most drain lines come out of the side of the home to allow the condensation water to drop to the ground.
- Check to make sure there is nothing that can block the drains. Sometimes mice, squirrels, or birds build nests in these areas, which can cause blockage. Also, blowing attic insulation can get into the pan and clog up lines.
- Not seeing visible blockages also doesn’t mean your drain line is entirely in the clear. In the next step, you’ll test how well the drain line works by pouring water into the pan and seeing if it drains.
Step 2 – Inspect condensate pan
- Grab a flashlight and locate the condensate pan, which should be underneath the evaporator coils in the AC unit in your ceiling or utility room.
- If you notice any small cracks or imperfections in the pan, you can always use silicone caulk to fix problem areas.
- You can test the efficiency of this pan by pouring a few cups of water into the pan & observe what happens. If water doesn’t flow freely down and out of the drain line, there may be a clog along the way.
- Otherwise, if you notice that everything is draining properly, then you’re done testing the efficiency of your condensate pan & overflow line.
- Tool List: flashlight, bucket – medium
- Supply List & Costs: Caulk – silicone
Step 3 – If you have a clogged system
- If you have a clogged system, pour white vinegar or bleach into the pan, which should drain through the pipe and clean out the drain lines. Only use bleach if you plan on running your A/C unit throughout the summer.
- Flush the pipe out with water to ensure everything is flowing freely and operating as it should.
- Test to make sure everything is working. If there is still a clog somewhere within the pipe, you can utilize a stiff brush to get inside the drain that you can’t usually reach.
- If you cannot get everything draining correctly, calling an HVAC professional would be a good idea.
- Otherwise, if everything does seem to be draining well, then your maintenance, for the time being, is complete.
- Tool List: bucket – medium, brush – bristle, pipe cleaner, watering can
- Supply List & Costs: white vinegar
If you discover problem areas, it’s best to call a professional to inspect the issue. Then, have the situation assessed to determine whether or not your issue is resolved.
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Also, check out another interesting article- How To Change Your Furnace or Central Air Conditioner Filter!