An air conditioner’s evaporator coil condenses gallons of water from the air during the cooling process on a daily basis. Normally this condensation flows straight outdoors through the drain system. On occasion, A/C condensate drain issues can crop up that cause foul odors, mold growth and water damage. Knowing how to deal with three of the most common drain problems can help you avoid health concerns, inconvenience and unnecessary expense.
Dry Drain Trap
Most condensate drains tie into the home’s sewer line and are equipped with a U-shaped trap to keep sewer gas odors from entering the HVAC system. If you notice a noxious odor coming from the supply vents when the blower is running, a dry drain trap may be the culprit. If the A/C hasn’t been used recently or if you have a gravity-fed drain line that wasn’t installed with enough incline, the water that’s normally present in the trap has likely evaporated. An experienced HVAC professional can pinpoint the exact cause and get it resolved.
The condensate drain system contains everything necessary for mold to flourish: moisture, warmth and a supply of airborne organic particles. Mold that starts growing in the collector pan and drain lines can spread through the ductwork and affect indoor air quality. It can also invade the evaporator coil and severely restrict system airflow.
Having the A/C professionally maintained annually, cleaning the collector pan and flushing the drain lines regularly can help prevent mold growth. If the presence of mold is confirmed with testing, the cooling system and ductwork may need to be professionally cleaned and sanitized.
Leaks and Floods
It’s easy for algae to start growing in the condensate collection pan underneath the air handler and spread from there into the drain lines. If it clogs the line, condensate will overflow the collector pan. Depending on how long it takes to discover the problem, flooding can cause considerable mess and property damage. To avoid overflows, clean the collector pan and flush the drain line regularly.
For expert help correcting A/C condensate drain issues in your Grand Traverse County home, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about condensate drains and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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