Clean the A/C Condensate Drain With These Helpful TipsThe greater Cleveland area’s high humidity means your air conditioner has no shortage of condensate to deal with. Cleaning the A/C condensate drain correctly helps ensure this water doesn’t shut down your system or back up onto your floor.

Disinfect the Inside End

Because it’s constantly wet during the summer, your air conditioner’s condensate drain is prone to developing algae and mold. If not cleaned out, these microorganisms keep growing and eventually block the drain. Some A/Cs sense blockages and automatically shut down to prevent a backup. With others, the condensate water runs over onto your floor, potentially damaging your flooring and walls, until you notice it.

To prevent this, once or twice every cooling season, pour a cup of bleach, vinegar or an algaecide designed for air conditioners into your condensate drain’s access line in your indoor unit. Wait 30 minutes, then flush the line with water. If water remains in the drain pan, you most likely have a blockage. Inserting a length of surgical tubing into the drain can help loosen small blockages. Avoid inserting sharp objects, however, because these can damage the drain. If this doesn’t clear the blockage, shut off your A/C and use a wet-vac to suck out debris.

Clear Out the Outside End

The outside end of your condensate drain, usually a pipe on the side of your house, can also develop sludge and blockages. A wet-vac will help you with cleaning the A/C condensate drain from this side. Attach the wet-vac’s hose to the condensate drain’s end. Use a plumbing fitting, such as a socket coupling or reducer, to achieve the airtight connection necessary to effectively pull out the sludge. Without a tight connection, you may get only water. Let the wet-vac run for two or three minutes.

If you run into a solid blockage you can’t remove or find rust or other deterioration, contact a technician. Attempting to force the blockage out can damage the drain.

For more tips on cleaning the A/C condensate drain or for professional cleaning, contact us at Stack Heating & Cooling in the greater Cleveland area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about A/C condensate drains and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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