Keeping My Power Bills Down

Why Should You Clean Out Your HVAC Drain?

You may think your sink drains are the only drains in your home you need to clean. You also want to clean and maintain the condensate drainage line in your HVAC system. A blocked condensate line can affect every component in your HVAC system. Learn why and how you should clean the condensate drain in your HVAC system below.

What's the Purpose of a Condensate Line?

The condensate line is a drainage pipe in your indoor air conditioner. Like other drains in your home, the condensate line catches and removes humidity or moisture out of your home. To keep from overflowing with water, the condensate line must release its contents into a small pot called a drainage pan. If the condensate line or drainage pan become blocked, moisture will build up inside the indoor unit and home. 

A number of things can block the condensate line and drainage pan, including slimy algae. Algae normally grows outdoors but can show up in any place that contains water or moisture. Once algae grows inside the condensate line, you want to remove it right away. Like mold, algae can grow very quickly. 

The best way to keep algae out of condensate line is to prevent it from growing in the first place. 

What's the Best Way to Clean a Condensate Line?

If possible, check the condensate line attached to your indoor unit. The line looks like a thin PVC pipe. You'll need to pull the line away from the unit to see inside it. After you detach the line from the unit, look inside it. If the drainage line is clear, you don't need to clean it.

If see gunk or debris inside the line, check the drainage pan sitting below it. If you see masses of algae and other debris inside the pan, stop and call an HVAC contractor drain cleaning service. There may be algae growing inside your AC unit.

An HVAC contractor will need to remove the large evaporator coil from the unit before they clean it. The evaporator coil relies on the condensate line and drainage pan to stay dry and cool during operation. If the algae, dust, mold, or even water coats the surface of the coil, it will freeze up. A contractor needs to keep the coil from freezing up by cleaning it.

After a contractor cleans the coil, they'll flush out the condensate line and wash out the drainage pan. If the rest of the unit requires cleaning, a contractor will do it for you.