What Can You Do About Blocked Drains?

Posted on: July 31, 2017

Air conditioning repair Poway CA - blocked drains Irregular and erratic maintenance can backfire at you in many ways. Regular system check-up and maintenance is the best way to ensure your unit performs well and reliably for many years to come. Maintenance will also prevent costly and extensive air conditioning repair Poway, CA (and any other area). Here’s what you need to know about blocked AC drains.

What are condensate drains and how do they function?

Dehumidifying the air is vital for efficient air conditioning, because dry air holds less heat energy. Your central AC unit draws in warm air from your home, pulls it through the chilly evaporator coils to cool down and blows it back inside. While the air is around the cold evaporator coils, condensation is formed. Since it won’t go away on its own, this water is collected in the drip pan under the coil. The drip pan or collector pan is slightly tilted, so the collected water can move more easily into and down the drain pipe and out of your home.

When your AC is in fine condition, the drain will only leak when the AC is operating and the puddle that forms outside should be small. However, if you notice that the condensate drain is leaky even when the AC is off, inspect the AC immediately for signs of blocked drain.

What can go wrong if you ignore blocked drains?

Blocked drains are not something you want to ignore. There could be many consequences, some of them rather severe, such as:

  • Water damage
  • Toxic mold (related to water damage)
  • Bad air quality
  • System breakdown
  • Fire (because of water flooding the electrical components)

What causes blocked drains?

In the majority of cases, it’s because not only water is flowing through the drain line. Dust and bacteria can also find their way into the line. When these two combine with water, you get gunk and sludge which accumulate and block the passage through the pipe. This can happen because the air filters are dirty or simply inefficient and allow too many dust particles to enter the system. On the other hand, even a small amount of bacteria or mold inside the drain would breed rapidly due to conducive conditions, ultimately causing a blockage.

How can you clean blocked drains?

Turn off the AC at the thermostat and the breaker. Check the drip pan just under the indoor air handler unit and the evaporator coils. If it’s overflowing, that’s a clear sign of a blocked drain line. Remove the water by soaking it up with some cloth or vacuum it with a wet/dry vacuum.

Condensate drains, especially those in residential units, are generally made from PVC, which is chemically-resilient. For a long time, the prescribed DIY cleaning solution was a 1:1 mixture of hot water and white vinegar (or bleach). In standard-size single-family homes, 2 cups of the solution should be enough. However, you should note that recommendations have recently changed, because different materials are being used in AC manufacture now. Chemical vapors from white vinegar and bleach could cause premature oxidation and degradation of the materials. You can simply use hot water instead – pour it slowly at the T-shaped vent on top of the drain.

You can also use a wet/dry vacuum, but at the end of the drain pipe. You can first vacuum the pipe and then pour hot water down the pipe.

Cleaning the drain pipe is part of regular professional maintenance. If you sign-up for this service with us, we’ll ensure your drain pipe is clear from blockages and clean.

When you need air conditioning repair Poway, CA, Action AC is here for you!

The best prevention of blocked drains and related problems is regular professional maintenance. Action AC has been serving the local San Diego community since 1975 with unparalleled success. We’re the most awarded AC specialists in San Diego. Thousands of San Diegans have entrusted us with their comfort because we offer utmost professionalism and premier customer care. Call us for all AC maintenance, service and repair you need, whenever you need it – we’re just a phone call away!