When you have a central air conditioning unit in your home, it plays an important role. Central air doesn't just cool your home; it draws the humidity out of the air, too. When the air is particularly humid, that leads to a lot of drainage from the drip pan. That drainage should flow from the drip pan to the drain tube, where it will exit the unit and flow away from your home. If, however, the drain tube becomes clogged, you risk an overflow from your air conditioning unit. This can cause water damage in your house. Here are some tips to help you understand drain line clog issues and their resolution.
How Can The Drain Line Get Clogged?
You might think that since it's just water flowing through the line, there's no risk of clogs. In fact, the water that sits in the drip pan actually develops bacteria as a result of accumulated particles that are in the air. The bacteria and particles create residue that will build up on the inside surface of the drain line. That residue can also start to grow algae, and the residue, particles, and algae will eventually grow until it clogs the line.
In addition, the line can also get clogged up from the other end. The dirt and debris that naturally occurs outside can get caked into the line. Further, during the spring season, when the air conditioner doesn't run, you may find that insects nest inside it, creating an obstruction that clogs it up.
What Are The Signs Of A Drain Line Clog?
In order to avoid the potential severe water damage that can come from drain line clogs, you need to recognize the signs of a problem as early as possible. One of the earliest symptoms is often the air handler shutting down. It's a safety feature that's incorporated in many modern air conditioners. It shuts off the air handler when the water level in the drip pan reaches a certain point.
For air conditioners that don't have this safety override on the air handler, you'll have to keep a watch on the system itself. You might see water dripping from the main condenser, or you'll see water dripping from the vents. If it reaches the point where it's dripping from the vents, that means the pan has already overflowed, and you're facing the risk of water damage. As soon as you see these signs, you need to shut off your air conditioner until you can get it repaired.
How Do You Fix A Clogged Drain Line?
It's not as simple as you think to clear a blocked drain line. You'll need a wet/dry vacuum to help draw out the water. Soak it up from the drip pan first. Slide the pan out and clean it completely with hot water and a gentle soap product. The soap will remove the bacteria that's accumulated.
Connect either a suction line or an air compressor hose to the drain line, and try to blow it out or suck out the clog. If you get the line clear, you should then flush it with straight white vinegar. That will kill any residual mold, algae, or bacteria that resides in the line to discourage this from happening again.
If you can't get the air to flow through the line, you'll need to call an air conditioning repair technician to handle it for you. He or she has specialized equipment to clear out things like this. You can also schedule routine air conditioning repair service and cleaning to help prevent this from being a problem again in the future. Your technician will monitor the line regularly to keep it clear and clean.