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How to Stop AC Drain Clogs

washing-an-air-conditionerYou might see the words drain clogs in the title and think, “Wait, Touchstone isn’t a plumbing company.” True, but we’re air conditioning professionals with a long history of helping people stay cool in Florida weather, and so we know all about a specific type of drain clog: the air conditioning system drain clog.

Where is there a drain in my air conditioner?

If you aren’t familiar with basic AC operation (which is fine, that’s why you have professionals around), you may not know that removing water moisture from the air conditioner’s indoor cabinet is an important part of its cooling cycle. Water vapor in the air condenses along the evaporator coil as the refrigerant in the coil absorbs heat. This water moisture has to go somewhere. It drips from the coil down into a condensate pan. From there, a pump pulls the water down a condensate drain that removes it outdoors. This is a big job for an AC in Florida weather because of the high humidity.

How do clogs happen?

Any small particle that gets into the condensate drain could block it, such as dust which turns into a sludge. One of the most common causes for AC drain clogs here in Florida is algae growth—another unfortunate side-effect of the humidity. When the drain is clogged, the water in the pan will rapidly overflow. This triggers a limit switch that shuts off the air conditioner to prevent more damage.

But even a slow-draining AC can be a serious problem, since it raises humidity levels inside the air conditioner and can lead to damage and even unhealthy mold growth in the system. Keeping these clogs away helps your air conditioning in Lake City, FL last for as long as possible.

How can I reduce the chance of a clogged AC drain?

The best method is with an annual spring inspection and tune-up for the air conditioner. One of the most important jobs our technicians do is to flush out the drain and clean the condensate pan thoroughly on each visit. We know how rapidly the humidity can cause damage to an air conditioner, and we take special care to help protect ACs from future troubles. Sign up for our maintenance program and we’ll see your air conditioner has the annual assistance it needs.

During the summer between maintenance visits for your HVAC system (we recommend once in spring and once in fall), you can also do some basic care for the drainage system. All you have to do is pour warm water slowly down the drain. You can find a PVC cap on top of the a drainpipe that allows you to pour the water down it. You can also mix in a bit of vinegar for mild acidic action—this is similar to an old sink drain unclogging method. But do not put any kind of cleaning solution down the drain, especially bleach. And don’t use this method if the drain is already clogged up; this is for prevention, not resolution.

When you do have an AC drain clog, call our technicians. They’ll have the trouble solved fast.

Touchstone Heating & Air Inc has served the communities of North Central Florida since 1998. Reach out to us for help with your cooling this summer—any time of the day or night!

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