Many homeowners have no clear idea of how their HVAC system works. The fact is, it has many parts and they all must function properly and in sync for the equipment to do its job efficiently and effectively. One of the most important parts, and one you may not know about, is the condensate drain line.
What the Condensate Drain Does
This drain is the place where condensation goes after it is removed from your home’s air on the evaporator coils. It’s important to your indoor air quality for helping to dehumidify your home so you feel cooler without needing to crank down the thermostat. When it’s draining properly, you’re less likely to have a buildup of algae, mold, mildew or fungus in your home or in your HVAC system. Those pollutants can be discerned by an unpleasant, musty smell.
How Drain Lines Become Clogged
Over time, dirt and other pollutants may be drawn into your system with the return air, particularly if you don’t change the air filter regularly. That dirt builds up on your evaporator coils and when combined with water, bacteria and other pollutants may form a sludge that enters your drain line. If it’s not cleaned out regularly, it can stop up the line or drain pan and you will have overflow.
Signs that your drain is plugged are:
- puddles near your HVAC cabinet
- for attic units, wet spots on the ceiling or wall
- a damp smell in the home or near the cabinet
- dripping sounds from your HVAC system
The Fix for a Plugged Condensate Line
Your best defense against a plugged drain line is to regularly change your air filter. Also, you should schedule annual maintenance on your HVAC system, asking your technician to inspect the coils and clean them if necessary.
The technician should also inspect the condensate line and flush it with bleach and water regularly. You can also you use a wet/dry vacuum and proper attachment to vacuum the line.
For more on dealing with a condensate drain line, contact Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing, serving greater Cleveland.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues. For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or give us a call at 440-345-8795.