Blocked Condensation Drains – What You Need To Know

While most of us know that we need an external water drain for our AC unit, we may not know exactly why an air conditioning unit seems to collect water in the first place. To briefly explain, dry air is less affected by heat than damp air, so the removal of moisture from the air in your home goes a long way towards reducing the temperature.

The condensation coils in your HVAC unit help to trap the moisture in the air as it is circulated through the system, then it collects in the drip pan underneath, before making its way into the drainage pipe. The problem is, that with the circulation of air, there is always an element of dust that may not all be caught by the air filters. This can lead to a built up of gunk and sludge in the drip tray and drainage pipe, ultimately leading to a blockage in the system.

In addition, heat, cold and damp are a perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria which, if left unchecked, can rapidly grow and lead to a blockage of air conditioning unit drainage pipes. This can, unfortunately lead to water damage in your home, bad air quality, a system breakdown and even a fire if water and electricity meet each other.

If you suspect a blocked drain, switch off your AC unit immediately and either give us a call here at Petrocelli Services and we can come over and fix the problem, or you can try unblocking the drain yourself. Take note though that old remedies are no longer safe for today’s newer systems. Do not use bleach or vinegar as this can cause premature oxidation and degrading of the unit’s materials.

Instead, once the unit has been switched off for a while, try vacuuming the pipe with your vacuum’s nozzle, after which a couple of cups of hot water can go a long way to cleaning away the mold and gunk that is blocking the drain.

Alternatively, and the safest thing to do would be to call us and ask us to unblock the drain, and give your air conditioning unit a service while we are there, as a blocked drain is a sign that all is not functioning properly.


**Petrocelli Services is a full service HVAC company providing Air Conditioning and Heating installation and repair services for Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park and surrounding areas.

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