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A Helpful AC Tip to Clean the Condensate Drain

water-dropletsIt’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of your air conditioning system. It’s about to shoulder an immense amount of work as the hot and humid season in Florida settles in, and you don’t want it to go up against the heat without the proper preparations.

One of the essential  air conditioning services in Lake City, FL to schedule is professional preventive maintenance. Nothing is better at fixing up an AC for another summer. Our Energy Savings Agreement is the fast, easy, and affordable way to set this up.

But once the professional maintenance inspection and tune-up is done, there are a few maintenance jobs you can do over the season, such as changing the air filter and cleaning the condensate drain—which we’re going to examine below.

The Importance of the Condensate Drain

As your AC runs, it draws heat and moisture from the air. The moisture collects on the evaporator coil, then drips down into a pan. The condensate drain removes this water from the AC and sends it either into the drainage system or outside. Because of the humid Florida summer conditions, a condensate drain has plenty of water to remove. Unfortunately, the drain can clog up because of algae and mold growth. When this happens, the condensate pan will soon overflow (it’s only about an inch deep) and trigger a switch to shut down the air conditioner.

Sometimes you will need to call a technician to repair the problem. But you can do a bit of cleaning yourself for easy clogs.

Condensate Drain Cleaning

A ¼ cup of vinegar poured down the drain can kill off mold, algae, mildew, and other organic obstructions. In fact, you may wish to do this once a month during the summer, even if the AC isn’t backing up, since it will help prevent the growths from coming back. Make it part of the monthly routine of changing the air filter.

Here’s how to “vinegarize” the AC’s condensate drain:

  • Shut off the AC at the breaker panel so the system won’t turn on.
  • Find the condensate drain. It’s a PVC pipe that’s near the outdoor unit of the AC and which attaches to the house.
  • The drain line should have a covered T-shape vent. You can open this and look inside the pipe to see if there’s blockage.
  • Now pour in that ¼ cup of vinegar. We recommend using distilled white vinegar, which is more acidic.
  • Wait about half an hour, then flush water into the pipe to remove the loose obstructions.

If you were doing this job as a preventive move, you’re now done. If the drain was blocked and the AC was shutting down, try the air conditioner again to see if it works. Should the problem persist, you’ll need to call professionals. An HVAC expert may need to examine the condensate pan and replace the drain or possibly the pump. A pump failure is often a cause of the pan not draining.

Repair your AC with the best: Touchstone Heating & Air Inc has served the communities of Northern Florida since 1998.

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