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Keeping Your Air Conditioner’s Drain Line Clear

Air conditioning systems create moisture runoff as they remove heat and humidity from the air. In the case of central air conditioning, this runoff is funneled through a drain line to the exterior of your home. However, like any plumbing drain, this line is vulnerable to clogs. When clogs form, excess moisture can accumulate inside your air conditioner or in the area surrounding it, causing water damage to the appliance and your home. Standing water caused by moisture accumulation can also lead to mold growth, especially during the warm, humid months of the summer. Keeping your air conditioner’s drain line clear of dirt, debris, and mold will prevent water damage and the need for water restoration due to drain line clogs.

Change Your Furnace Filter Regularly

Your furnace filter screens out airborne particles, such as dust, pollen, and animal dander, every time air is drawn into your HVAC system. By screening out these particles, your filter prevents them from reaching the interior of your air conditioner, which also includes its drain and drain line. If you don’t use a furnace filter or leave your old filter in place long past its functional lifetime, your air conditioner becomes susceptible to greater dirt and dust buildup, which can in turn lead to clogs in its drain line. You should always use a furnace filter, regardless of the season, and replace your filter with a new one every 30-90 days.

Check the Exterior Drain

Many homeowners aren’t even aware that central air conditioners typically have a condensate drain port on the exterior of their home. However, this drain port must be cleaned regularly to prevent clogs that could cause water backup into your air conditioner and its surroundings. Most air conditioner drain lines exit the home near your air conditioner’s exterior condenser, so check this area for a pipe or drain. Inspect the drain every few weeks to ensure it is clear and make sure all foliage around the drain is trimmed back to allow water to leave the drain pipe unhindered. Once or twice a cooling season, use a wet/dry vacuum to clear any forming clogs by attaching the end of the hose to the drain port and wrapping a cloth around the connection several times. Simply hold the cloth and hose in place and turn on the vacuum for a few seconds to remove any debris, mold, or forming clogs from the pipe.

Clean Out the Drain Pipe

Mold growth is a common cause of A/C drain line clogs—because your drain line is constantly wet and warm, mold can grow quickly throughout the pipe. You can easily clean out your drain pipe by pouring a cup of bleach into the drain’s access port, which is located near the indoor condenser. If you can’t find an access port, ask your HVAC technician about its location during your next tune-up. Cleaning out the drain pipe with bleach once in the early spring will not only kill any forming mold, it will break the mold down as well to prevent clog formation.

If you’ve experienced water damage or mold growth due to a clogged A/C drain line, professional water cleanup and mold mitigation will prevent this problem from affecting the appearance and integrity of your home. You can find out more about our comprehensive water and mold restoration services in Wilmington when you click through our website, or take a look at our blog for additional tips to prevent damage to your home or take charge of disasters quickly to minimize their effects.