What do you think when you hear the words, “Home damaged by water because of air conditioner malfunction.”? I think many of you may respond with this question, “How is that possible?” It happens because too many people don’t realize what the A/C is doing while it’s cooling your Glenwood Springs, Aspen, or Vail, CO house. It’s also taking the moisture out of the air to keep the humidity level comfortable and releasing water via a pvc pipe.
The water has to go somewhere
All air conditioners have a system to drain the condensate (water) away from the air handler. Usually the water flows through PVC pipe to the outside or to a floor drain. If the air handler is in the basement there may be a small pump to move the water outside.
Signs of a problem
The most obvious will be water on the floor around the air handler. The problem is many times it’s in an out-of-the-way location. One good example is in the attic of two-story homes. If a condensate line gets clogged, you may not know it until the overflowing water has saturated the ceiling and walls beneath it. Hopefully the problem will be discovered before that happens. Many air conditioners are now installed with safety switches in the floor pan. When water is detected the air conditioner stops working.
Removing a clog
The good news is a clogged condensate line can often be fixed by the homeowner in a few easy steps:
- Locate the PVC pipe at the air handler and disconnect (the fittings are not cemented).
- Look for a physical blockage and try to remove it manually.
- If the blockage isn’t visible, pour some vinegar in the pipe and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Use water to flush the pipe.
- If it’s still blocked, try using an air compressor (if you have one) to blast the pipe open.
If none of this removes the blockage, then your best bet is to call in a Climate Control technician to fix the problem.
How clogs happen
The inside of the condensate pipe is ripe for algae growth, wet and dark. As the algae grows inside the pipe it traps sediment. More algae grows trapping even more dirt. Over time the PVC pipe can become clogged.
Proper maintenance helps a lot
During regular air conditioning maintenance our technicians will always inspect the PVC drainpipe for any sign of a problem, but you can help a lot. Every month during air conditioning season pour a water and bleach mixture into the condensate line. This will remove algae and grime from inside the pipe.
An ounce of prevention
Whether you do it yourself or Climate Control Company does it for you, maintaining your condensate drain system as a part of regular air conditioning maintenance is easy and inexpensive. But it’s a great way to prevent potentially damaging and aggravating problems at your Glenwood Springs, Aspen, or Vail, CO home. For more great information be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.