It’s the great Floridian fear.
It’s summertime, it’s hot, and your air conditioner has stopped working. Yikes!
No need to panic. The most common reason air conditioning systems stop working is a clog in the condensation drain line.
The good news is, you may be able to clear it yourself!
Here’s a brief explanation of what may be happening and a solution.
Air conditioners dehumidify the air as it is cooled. As the unit removes moisture from the air, it eliminates it through a condensate drain that exits to the outside of your home. You’ve probably noticed a small trickle from a PVC pipe near an outside wall of your home.
Over time, this drain can clog with dirt and debris. If the drain becomes clogged, the water collects in the line. When the water reaches a certain level, it trips a sensor which turns off the unit. The sensor prevents water from backing up into your system, which could damage internal components.
Fortunately, drain line clogs can often be easily conquered. With a little HVAC know-how, you can unclog the blockage and get your AC running again.
Before you call for professional service, try this 9 step approach:
Chemistry is your friend when it comes to clearing a clogged AC condensation drain. We don’t recommend using Chlorine Bleach because of the caustic properties that can harm pipes, and the chlorine fumes can actually be harmful to you and your family. Chlorine bleach can quickly corrode the PVC pipe but also the glue and cement joining the line to the fittings and the condensation pan. If your drain line is PVC, use white distilled vinegar for clearing clogs and debris, particularly during winter.
Step 1. Turn off your HVAC system.
Step 2. Locate the cleaning port. Most drain lines will have a T-shaped vent with a cover or cap. You may want a bucket to help collect the water resting in the drain pipe.
Step 3. Remove the cleaning port cap. Remove and examine the cap to see if there is algae or mold on it or the port opening. This may be the location of the clog and easily remedied.
Step 4. Assess the clog. Visually inspect the AC drain pipe to see if the blockage is visible. If you can see the blockage, you can attempt to manually remove it with your fingers (wearing protective gloves). Note: Be sure not to push the blockage further down the drain pipe. If you cannot see the clog or are unable to remove it manually, go on to step 5.
Step 5. Pour a gentle cleaning solution down the drain line. Use a mild cleaning solution of warm water and white vinegar (A 50/50 mixture works well) or warm water, vinegar and a couple of drops of dish soap. Carefully pour the solution into the drain pipe, stopping once it’s full. Allow the chemicals to do their work for 5 to 10 minutes watching the water level as it goes down.
Step 6. Repeat step 5 up to three times. Make sure the water is warm.
Step 7. Assess the clog again. If the cleaning solution has evacuated down the drain pipe, the clog is clear. Go on to step 8.
If the cleaning solution does not drain down the pipe, you have a more severe clog, and your system needs professional cleaning. Skip step 8 and go on to step 10.
Step 8. Clean and return the cleaning port cap. Clean the port cap with the cleaning solution before returning it to close the port.
Step 9. Turn your HVAC system on.
If none of these work, you need professional cleaning of the clog.
Ace A/C of Ocala is experienced with all types of A/C issues. We’ll try to help solve the problem over the phone before scheduling a service call.
If you’d rather leave AC repairs to the professionals, Ace A/C of Ocala is here to help. We are known for fast and efficient repairs.
Hot, humid air is not only uncomfortable, but it can be a serious health risk to elderly family members. If you need repairs quickly, please call us!
730 Words Author: Toby Sorrels