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What Goes Wrong With a Clogged Condensate Drain in an AC

water-dropletsWhat sort of sounds do you hear coming from your air conditioning system? You expect to hear the whir of the fans and the hum of the compressor when it turns on. But what about the dripping of water? Yes, this is one of the routine noises you can expect to hear coming from your AC as it works on a hot day. It’s the condensate moisture in the system dripping down into a pan, where it is then pumped down a drain and out of the house.

Your AC doesn’t use water to cool down air, but water is a product of how it cools the air. When the cold refrigerant in the evaporator coils and fins evaporates, it draws heat out of the air as well as moisture. The moisture collects along the coil and a pan below catches it when it falls. The condensate drain and line removes the water—unless the drain is clogged up.

How a Clogged Condensate Line Causes Problems

If algae or mold starts to grow in the drain or the line attached to it, water will back up into the pan and create some serious problems for the HVAC system and the house.

  • Limit switch: The condensate pan isn’t deep, usually only an inch or so. When the pan doesn’t drain, it will soon overflow. This will trip a limit switch in most air conditioners that will cause them to shut down. If the screen of your digital thermostat goes blank, it’s probably because of a tripped limit switch.
  • Water damage: Water spilling out into your house is never good! The overflowing condensate pan can create serious damage if it’s not fixed.
  • Humidity and mold: Even if the condensate drain isn’t fully blocked, it will still drain slowly and allow too much moisture into the air conditioning system. High moisture will lead to the development of mold and bacteria in the AC. This will not only create an unpleasant smell around the house (“dirty sock syndrome”), it will also obstruct the evaporator coils and lower system efficiency.
  • Frozen coil: An increase in humidity means much more moisture in the air around the cold evaporator coils. This can lead to moisture along the coils freezing. Once ice develops along the coils, it will create even more ice and eventually block the coils from absorbing heat.

Fixing the Problem

A clogged condensate drain or line requires AC repair in Katy, TX. We don’t recommend you go into the air conditioning cabinet and attempt to fiddle around with the drainage system on your own or try pouring a home remedy down into the drain. It’s best to leave the job to professionals. Our technicians will not only fix the drain but take care of other problems it may have caused, such as mold and ice.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us when you’ve got AC condensate problems—the sooner we’re on the job, the easier it’ll be to fix.

Your Comfort Is Our Business at AC Comfort! Request service to get your air conditioner back to work.

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