An air conditioning maintenance technician cleans and services all aspects of your AC equipment on an annual visit. One of the components that's serviced is the condensation drain. If this drain is blocked or the pan develops a leak, water from condensation leaks on your floor or spills into the air handler. This can cause your AC to shut down until repairs are made. It's better to keep the drain maintained so problems don't develop. Here are some steps to condensation drain maintenance.
Understand How Condensation Drainage Works
Different AC systems have different setups and components for draining condensation. While your AC maintenance technician can tell you what type of system you have, you might want to know too so you can understand how it works in case you have to clean the drain yourself between service calls.
The condensation created on the evaporator coils drops in a collection pan at the bottom of the air handler. The drain that leads from the pan is usually a small white PVC drain. This drain might lead outside or to a floor drain. If you ever take the drain apart to clean it and it drains in the floor, be sure you reposition the drain the way it was originally so it has an air gap to prevent backflow.
Other things to know about the condensation drain system include if your AC has an automatic shut-off if the drain gets clogged and whether the drain pan empties through gravity or by a pump. If by pump, you'll want to watch for problems with the switch that could keep the pump from working and lead to the pan overflowing.
Inspect The Pan And Floor
The drain pan shouldn't have a lot of water in it. If it does, there could be a partial clog that needs to be cleared. When the maintenance technician examines the pan, they also check for cracks if the pan is plastic and rust if the pan is metal. A leaky pan should be replaced right away.
The area around the pan is also checked for signs of water damage. This might include a must odor, spongy floor, or rust on the air handler. If water damage is found, that indicates the drain has been clogged for a while and needs to be cleared out.
Clean The Drain
Cleaning the drain can be done by using a wet vac and pulling out the clog or by using compressed air or a water jet to force the clog through the drain. When the drain is cleaned every year during a maintenance service call, you shouldn't have to worry about problems with the condensation system in your AC.
Your air conditioning maintenance technician might recommend placing an additive in the drain pan that controls the growth of algae so algae won't be a problem during the summer when your AC runs and creates condensation every day.