Your air conditioner works hard to keep you cool during the long, hot New Jersey summer, and common air conditioning problems are par for the course, especially if you haven’t had your annual A/C tune-up. Preventive maintenance will increase your system’s efficiency, lower your utility bills, and help prevent common problems later on when your system is working overtime in the heat.

A clogged condensate drain is one of the most common A/C problems. The condensate pans, located beneath the evaporator coil in your indoor unit, catch the condensation that drips from the coil. If the PVC drain line running from your pan becomes clogged, the pan will overflow and shut down your system. During your annual tune-up by a qualified HVAC technician, your condensate drain will be flushed to help prevent clogs later on.

What causes clogs?

Dirt, mold, pet hair, and other debris that settles in your condensate pan gathers at the drain opening and can clog the drain. Insects may nest in your drain line, especially if it terminates outdoors, causing an obstruction. You can help prevent clogs by keeping the area around your indoor unit clean and removing debris from the outdoor end of your drain line.

Can I remove the clogs myself?

If your drain becomes clogged, try removing the clog yourself before calling for service.

  1. Turn off the power to your system at the main circuit breaker.
  2. Remove standing water from your condensate pan with a wet/dry vacuum.
  3. Insert a plumber’s snake or flexible plastic tubing into the drain from the pan’s opening, and then from the terminal opening, to remove obstructions.
  4. Pour a solution of 1/4 cup of vinegar and a gallon of warm water into the drain to remove any remaining debris and kill biological contaminants such as mold and bacteria in your drain.
  5. Completely dry any water around your unit to prevent the growth of mold.

For more expert advice about preventing and dealing with a clogged condensate drain, please contact us at Pipe Works Services, helping to keep northern New Jersey residents comfortable year-round since 1988.

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