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Preventing Water Damage From a Clogged Condensate Drain Line

By July 14, 2020August 10th, 2022No Comments

Clogged Condensate Drain Line for Your Air Conditioner

Your air conditioning condensate drain is something most of us take for granted but truly appreciate during the hot summer days in Clarksville. Unfortunately, there is little recognition of how the system actually works or the risks of running the system.

For instance, one of the inherent risks is water damage in the room where your AC evaporator is located. To understand this risk, and how to avoid it, keep reading. You will not only learn what can cause this damage but how to ensure you are not taken advantage of for repairs.

How Does A Condensate Drain Work?

First, it is important to understand how your air conditioner works. Sure, you know that it circulates air through your home. When it is working correctly, the air coming out of the system is cooler than the ambient air temperature.

The way it cools the air is through the refrigerant that runs through the system. As the refrigerant circulates, it exchanges heat from inside your home to the outside. If the system is not properly charged, or there is a problem creating the right pressure, it does not cool effectively. (continue below)

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How Does This Create Water?

Have you ever poured a glass of cold water on a humid day? You will see water start collecting on the outside of the glass. It will eventually run down and collect on the table. This is why you use a coaster under the glass to prevent water damage.

So how does this have anything to do with your air conditioner? When the refrigerant moves from the outside condenser to the inside evaporator, it is extremely cold. Most of the line is insulated or underground, so those will not create condensation. However, the air is forced over the evaporator, and this is where most of the condensation forms.

The colder you run your air conditioner and the longer it runs, the more water condenses in your system.


What Happens to That Water?

So what happens to all of this water that condenses in your system? This is where the condensate drain comes in. At the bottom of the evaporator coil is a collection tray where the condensation will collect as it drips from the evaporator.

At one end of the collection tray is a tube that should lead outside to drain the water. When this works correctly, all of the water will drain out and allow the system to work properly. However, this drain can get clogged, and that is where water the condensate can cause some problems.


What Are Signs of a Clogged Drain Line?

One of the most noticeable symptoms of a clogged condensate drain is water leaking from under your system. If your air handler and evaporator coil is in the basement, then the risk of water damage is only what is on the floor near your unit.

However, in many homes, this is located in the attic. If that is the case for your home, then you risk damaging the ceilings, and anything located under your system. You may notice bulging or mis-colored ceiling paint. When it gets worse, water may start dripping from the ceiling.

Aggravated allergies are another possible sign of a clogged drain line. This is because the water will collect and sit there. It is a dark moist place, just the kind of environment mold thrives.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you want to be sure to check your drain and get it cleared before it becomes a larger problem.


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What Can You Do?

What can you do if you notice any of these symptoms? If you are not sure what is causing the clog, you may want to call an air conditioning specialist in Clarksville.

Of course, the best thing you can do is to prevent clogs in the first place. Here are some easy things you can do to help with prevention.

  • Be sure the drain lines are properly angled down to allow gravity to work.
  • Watch to see if your secondary line is dripping, indicating a clog in the primary.
  • Install a safety switch that shuts off your air conditioner if the line is clogged.
  • Get regular air conditioning maintenance.

If you do find the is a clog, you can try some of these home solutions. Just be sure to turn off the power to your unit at the breaker to avoid any injuries.

  • Pour a solution of bleach and water in at the vent tee.
  • Use a long stiff wire with a brush at the end to clean out the pipe at either end.
  • Seal a shop vac to the exit end with duct tape and attempt to such out any debris.
  • Use an air compressor at the vent tee and seal it with duct tape.


Call an Experienced Professional if Your System is Malfunctioning

Do you have an extremely old system? Are you seeing or hearing things that weren’t there before? If you suspect that the system is not working properly, you should call a professional as soon as possible.

A few signs that the system is in trouble include abnormal noises or smells, an extremely cold home, expensive bills, and frequent shutoffs. Regardless of the concern, an experienced professional can solve the problem and perform the necessary repairs before an emergency occurs.

Prevention and AC Tune-up costs are much more reasonable than having a costly repair later. Whether you live in Clarksville, TN or somewhere close by, the professionals at DOC Heating and Cooling are ready to help. The highly-trained technicians are available 24/7 for emergency calls and for regular maintenance to help keep your heating & cooling system running smoothly.

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Whether you live in Clarksville, TN or somewhere close by we are ready to help. Our highly trained technicians are available 24/7 to keep your heating & cooling system running smoothly.

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