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AC Tip: Keep the Drain Line Clear

air-conditioning-technicianWait a second, you may be thinking, what are they talking about? My air conditioner doesn’t use water at all! Why would I have to keep a drain line clear? It is true that your central air conditioner or heat pump does not use water in its operation as it cools your home. However, it is also true that the condensate drain line is an integral part of any home cooling system. So where exactly is this water coming from? Well, the answer is right in the name of the drain: condensation.

Your air conditioner in Marysville, WA evaporates refrigerant in order to remove heat from the air surrounding and passing over it. During this process, though, the system also draws moisture out of the air. The moisture condensates on the evaporator coil, before dripping down into the condensate drain pan and draining out of your home via the drain line. A clogged up drain line can cause a number of different problems.

Why Clean the Condensate Drain Line?

There are a few different reasons. The first is the most obvious: to avoid a mess. If your condensate drain line is backed up with algal growth or any other type of debris, that water is going to have to go somewhere. Can you guess where? That’s right — all over the floor surrounding your air conditioning system. This puts your property at risk of damage.

Water damage to items stored near the indoor AC unit is not the only problem to consider, though. You should also think about the lasting effects that this type of moisture can have. Specifically, you should think about the fact that damp conditions are ideal for the growth of biological pollutants. If conditions are damp around your AC equipment due to a backed up drain line, then mold growth and other problems associated with these damp conditions are a real possibility.

Of course, there is also the overall operational quality of your air conditioning system to consider. Many AC systems have switches designed to protect your home from problems caused by an overflowing condensate drain pan/backed up condensate drain line. Can you guess how they might solve the problem? That’s right — by shutting down completely! If your system senses that water is approaching max capacity, your AC system may actually shut down until the water is back at a safe level.

How to Clean the Condensate Drain Line

It’s really quite simple. You can buy some over the counter cleaner, or make a simple vinegar solution of your own at home. Contact us if you are uncomfortable accessing your condensate drain line on your own. Simple as it may be, you don’t want to be doing anything that you feel uncertain about.

Check the drain pan for any signs of cracks. Clear out the blockage, if there is one, in the drain line. You should have some rags on hand, and you may be able to use a wet/dry vac to clear out the drain line. Pour some of your solution down the drain line, and let it settle for a few minutes. Once things start to get moving once more, follow it up by flushing out the line with some warm water. Make sure that you put the drain pan back in place correctly, and you should be good to go.

Contact G & S Heating Cooling & Electric for any AC services that you may need.

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