Most people never take a moment to appreciate their air conditioner. This is funny because our air conditioners are the only appliances that make the Florida weather bearable. Cooling your home is just one of the things that this wonderful machine does daily, it also helps you keep the humidity under control.
You’re probably aware all the moisture that your AC unit removes from the air has to end up somewhere. You’re correct – it ends up in the AC drain line.
However, since Florida has a famously high humidity index, mildew is a common problem for many AC owners.
If you forget to inspect the unit regularly, mildew can build up and cause many problems, one of the most common being a clogged AC drain line. If you’ve got a sneaking suspicion that’s the case, this article is for you, as we’re going to go through the most common AC drain line clogged symptoms.
Let’s dig a little deeper!
What causes clogged drain lines?
How does mildew even have the power to cause AC drain line clogged symptoms? Well, let’s first explain what drain lines even do.
Your HVAC removes the moisture from the air with the help of evaporator coils, and your AC then collects all the water in the drain pan. This is where the drain line comes in, as its role is, as the name suggests, to drain the water from your HVAC system.
If you have any AC drain line clogged symptoms, they signify there’s an obstruction somewhere in the system.
We already mention mildew as a common cause. Drain lines are constantly moist, meaning mold can form and eventually coat the inside of the line and prevent the water from leaving your system.
But even if you check for mold regularly, it doesn’t mean you’re exempt from experiencing AC drain line clogged symptoms. If the water starts dripping off the evaporator coil, it can pick up any dirt or debris along the way. If enough debris passes through the drain, the drain line can evenutally get clogged.
Signs your drain line is clogged
Luckily, if there are any problems with your AC, the warning signs are easy to spot. The same goes for this particular issue. Here are some of the most common AC drain line clogged symptoms:
1. Standing water near your condenser unit
This one is the most obvious, as puddles of water around your AC usually indicate that your drain pan cannot drain out due to a clog in the drain line. As a result, the condensate drain pan will overflow, and you’ll end up with water around your indoor or outdoor unit.
2. Moldy smell
Mold is usually easy to identify by a strong, musty smell which some describe as the smell of decaying wood. So if you smell mold, you should check if the drain line is clogged as soon as possible.
3. Water damage
Any amount of water leaking from your system can be enough to cause a lot of damage to your home. For instance, when water ends up in the wrong places, like your floors or walls, it can cause mold formations where you don’t want them.
4. The drain pan is filled up
It’s simple logic. If more water enters your system than is being drained, your drain pan will be filled up. A full drain pan is not a good sign. It could be one of the AC drain line clogged symptoms, but it could be a sign that your refrigerant levels are low or a sign of countless other issues.
5. You’re unable to power on your AC system
Most modern indoor air handling units have a sensor that activates when the drain pan has excess water and cannot drain. This stops cooling to prevent water from overflowing and causing your leak. If your AC is powering off when you switch it on, it might imply that you’re experiencing AC drain line clogged symptoms.
How to unclog a drain line yourself
The good news is that you can try to fix the clog yourself, and it probably won’t even take that long. We recommend trying one of these two methods:
1. The garden hose method
The first method is quite simple, just follow the next few steps:
1. Turn off your AC using the breaker for maximum safety
2. Locate your unit’s drain pipe and drain line
3. Find the access point of your drain pipe (usually a small cap you can remove)
4. Attach a garden hose to the access point
5. Run the water at maximum pressure for five seconds
If the clog is not loose, repeat this process several times until you manage to loosen up the clog.
2. The wet/dry vacuum method
If you have a wet/dry vacuum, you can use it to get rid of that pesky clog. Here’s how:
1. Turn off your AC using the breaker for maximum safety
2. Locate your unit’s drain line
3. Attach your vacuum’s hose to the exit point of the drain
4. Wrap duct tape around the mouth of the vacuum to create a strong air seal
5. Run the vacuum for a couple of minutes
If the mission was a success, you’ll see brown water in your vacuum’s water tank. If you tried both methods and some AC drain line clogged symptoms persist, you might need to call a professional.
How to avoid clogs
Keeping mold at bay is so easy you’ll probably beat yourself up over why you haven’t done it in the first place. You only need to pour some bleach down the condensate drain line from the inside. We recommend doing the bleach treatment each spring.
Bleach will eliminate any mold and ensure that water can drain freely, even in the most humid environments.
However, if you want to completely erase the possibility of any ac drain line clogged symptoms, you might need to do a bit more. For starters, replace the air filters frequently.
Your choice matters, as higher-quality filters will do a better job of trapping any debris in your system and keep it from causing any clogs.
Clean or replace your filters every few months to keep your AC in top condition.
What if the problem is a bit more serious?
While cleaning out clogs can sometimes be easy, as HVAC professionals, we’ve seen things you don’t want to see. If you’ve tried everything and still have a clogged drain line along with any AC drain line clogged symptoms, maybe it’s better to call us.
If all the symptoms point to a clogged drain line, but your drain line is not clogged, you could have a more severe issue that can cause irreparable damage to your HVAC system.
Some things are best left to the professionals, and if you have no experience with troubleshooting air conditioning units, call Aztil AC.
We’re a Florida-based company available around the clock to help you with any AC problems you might be encountering. Call us at (888) 729-8452, or send an email to email@example.com to describe any AC drain line clogged symptoms and we’re good to go! See you in a wink!